School responds to claim that it has failed to tackle bullying

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Glengormley High has responded to claims of bullying within the school by stressing that it “condemns all threatening or violent behaviour”.

The school was heavily criticised on BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show on Wednesday morning when a mother told how her teenage daughter is on anti-depressants after being tormented by bullies at the Ballyclare Road school.

“She has been getting constantly picked on and bullied, probably from the end of January this year,” the woman told the programme.

“They are calling her names, pushing, shoving, kicking, she actually ended up in A&E in Antrim after a child actually had her by the throat.”

The mother, known only as Paula, said that despite her raising the issue with senior staff on several occasions, the bullying has continued. And she accused the school of not adhering to child protection and anti-bullying policies.

After taking advice from the Education Authority, the school issued a statement, saying: “It would be inappropriate for the school to comment the specifics of an individual case.

“Glengormley High School takes any claims of bullying seriously, and has a robust Anti-bullying Policy in place, which is reviewed annually by governors. Where such allegations are made, the school acts in accordance with these policies and the practise of staff is regularly reviewed in light of the policy. We also have a zero tolerance policy in regard to fighting, and condemn all threatening or violent behaviour. In any incidents of violent behaviour parents are also encouraged to report incidents to the PSNI.”

The statement added: “The school works with the Education Authority, the families and children concerned and other agencies as required to ensure that any issues relating to bullying are addressed as quickly and effectively as possible.

“Students are also encouraged to resolve tensions or misunderstandings through calm, honest, face to face conversations, with mediation provided by its pastoral staff.

“The school continues to encourage students and parents to work with the principal and staff to resolve any issues they might have.”

The latest claims of bullying at the school hit the headlines exactly a year after the mother of another teenage girl told how her daughter had been forced to leave the school due to a campaign of bullying.