School bullying is on the increase and becoming nastier every year.
This was the issue discussed on Monday at a public consultation between Youth Advisors of the Commissioner for Children's Rights, Leda Koursoumba and Education Minister Kyriacos Kenevezos.
Dealing with the hot subject has been among the Commissioner's top priorities for the last two years.
Youth Advisors informed the Education Minister about incidents of school bullying and expressed their position and concerns.
They said that each year, bullying incidents do not only increase but also become more severe. They said that there is no effective management of the issue and that teachers are not trained to deal with incidents.
Commissioner for Children's Rights Leda Koursoumba said yesterday it was the first time the minister held a public consultation to hear the views of youth on the bullying issue.
"This is the beginning of a new era where the safeguarding of children's rights becomes a reality, where children can participate in what we as adults do, in decision-making and in the shaping of policies," said Koursoumba.
Education Minister Kenevezos said "I had the great opportunity today to hear the very important views of our children, our students through an open dialogue. It was a large group of children that represented schools from all over Cyprus."
He said they arranged to meet again in order for the dialogue to continue and said that the ministry promised that measures will be taken to effectively tackle the issue.
He said that steps have been taken to date but admitted that the problem persists and so the ministry's aim is to completely eliminate bullying in schools through a joint effort by all related parties.
"Since youth are prepared to act as witnesses, share their own experience and support this effort, we should also in turn examine how we can take more action at the Education Ministry, in schools and as parents to fundamentally eliminate this issue."
Student Cleo Fasouli said she was glad that the Education Minister heard her views as this demonstrates that students have a right to participate in decision-making.
Cleo suggested that solutions include organising workshops in schools and also through the taking of more effective measures.
Student Elias Kousoulos said that teachers are the most responsible for the growing phenomenon as they were not informed or trained to deal with bullying. He hoped the minister would do everything he can to eliminate bullying, following yesterday's meeting.