Teachers and school authorities are to address racial bullying, according to the Immigrant Council of Ireland’s (ICI) submission to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The group, which represents migrants in Ireland, said “visible minority” groups are being bullied by their peers, including verbal bullying and physical violence.
ICI have said that this bullying in schools is being passed over and ignored with the view that “bullying happens to all children”, according to report in TheJournal.ie. Teachers’ groups have disputed this claim.
The group says that some migrant children have been advised to develop a “thicker skin” when they have reported racist incidents at school.
According to the documents submitted to the Irish Government, “One of the greatest barriers to tackling racial bullying is the reluctance of adults and authorities to acknowledge its existence and prevalence, as there remains an opinion that bullying happens to all children.”
It continues, “Not only is racial bullying not being tackled, but there is a risk of developing a culture of victim blaming in which reports of racial bullying fall on deaf ears.”
Brian Killoran, ICI’s information coordinator, told TheJournal.ie that Ireland’s national education system has not kept up with the changes in Ireland’s society.
Currently one in every seven children in Ireland is from a migrant background.
The document states, “Recent research in north inner-city Dublin has highlighted that migrant-origin boys experience both overt and covert forms of racial bullying.
"A high prevalence of racist name calling and physical violence was also recorded.”
The Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) said that they have been working on tackling bullying. A spokesperson said thousands of teacher hours are spent annually on bullying issues. They also rejected the idea that they were failing to keep up with the times.
They said, “Teachers have long rejected the concept that bullying happens to all children and have been in the frontline when it comes to dealing with these changes.”