Bullying is under control in Denbighshire county, parents assured

Reporter:

Duncan Rieder

Schools and communities in Denbighshire are doing enough to combat bullying, community leaders in Rhyl and Prestatyn say.

Concerned parents are being offered assurance there is support available in the county, and that schools are doing everything they can to tackle the issue, despite recent and unnerving high-profile cases of bullying.

Denbighshire and Rhyl town councillor Brian Blakeley said his granddaughter suffered bullying at Rhyl High School but added: “The school really did a fantastic job and tried their best to get to the bottom of it.”

Cllr Blakeley, who is a governor at Ysgol Tir Morfa, is neverthless uneasy about access bullies have to victims with social media and the limits to the authority of schools to address the issue.

He said: “It’s a school responsibility inside the grounds, but when so much bullying happens online, what can they do outside their grounds?”

He added that while on the surface increases in reports of both traditional and cyber-bullying might seem bleak, the fact that more people are coming forward to report harassment can be seen as sign of success.

Cllr Gerry Frobisher, Mayor of Prestatyn and organiser of the charity Friends of Childline, said: “Calls to Childline are increasing week on week, but that is because of the accessibility through social media or their website to help, victims now have many more options for aid.”

Such options in Prestatyn include Sixth Formers Protect You at Prestatyn High School and I Spy, a unique community initiative giving short-term refuge in local businesses for children being attacked out of school and escorted walks home.

Jeremy Kent, chairman of I Spy and a leader of the Air Cadets, said: “It means that bullying is not being brushed under the rug.

“I Spy originated in the schools and it shows they are dealing with the issue head on.

“While bullying that happens when you close your door may be 24/7, it usually spills over into schools and on the way home from class where teachers and schemes like I Spy can offer much needed support.”

While there isn’t currently an equivalent initiative in Rhyl, the community support model is something that is ready to be tailored to the town. “I’d be very interested in speaking to the leaders and taking something similar to Rhyl,” Cllr Blakeley said.

Steps are also being taken by Denbighshire County Council to provide teachers with greater means to counter the problem.

Cllr Frobisher said: “While I don’t think there will ever be enough we can do, the county council is doing exceptionally well, with lots of policies to safeguard vulnerable people and training teachers to spot and report bullying as well as educating children.”

Email:

duncan.rieder@nwn.co.uk

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