Westport school hoists country’s first anti-bullying flag

Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Westport, are presented with a plaque by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in recognition of being the first school in Ireland to receive the ISPCC Blue Shield Flag for their ongoing anti-bullying work.
Photographed, from left, are: Ashley Balbirnie, ISPCC CEO, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, principal Mairéad Ní Ruáin, Fiona Jennings, ISPCC West representative, and Sandra Uí Chorcoráin, chairperson of the school’s board of management. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Westport, are presented with a plaque by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny in recognition of being the first school in Ireland to receive the ISPCC Blue Shield Flag for their ongoing anti-bullying work. Photographed, from left, are: Ashley Balbirnie, ISPCC CEO, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, principal Mairéad Ní Ruáin, Fiona Jennings, ISPCC West representative, and Sandra Uí Chorcoráin, chairperson of the school’s board of management. Photo: Michael Donnelly.

A Westport Gaelscoil has become the first school in Ireland to fly the Blue Shield Flag for its robust anti-bullying policy.

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Gaelscoil na Cruaiche yesterday (Thursday ) to raise the Blue Shield Flag, which is an initiative by the ISPCC.

The Blue Shield Flag recognises schools who have strong anti-bullying policies and promote a climate of openness and support in responding to any bullying concerns.

Some of the measures introduced at Gaelscoil na Cruaiche include an anti-bullying awareness week and appointing an anti-bullying coordinator.

School principal Mairéad Ní Ruáin said the school had carried out considerable work with the ISPCC to “sustain and develop a warm and caring atmosphere where all children feel safe and secure.”

Speaking at the flag raising ceremony, An Taoiseach congratulated the school on their achievement.

“The ISPCC Blue Shield Flag is a testament to their positive action and determination to ensure a safe and secure school environment for all children and is a great example for all schools to follow to combat bullying,” he said.

Last year the ISPCC worked with 100 schools in reviewing and developing their anti-bullying policies, and it has worked with 71 schools so far this year.

Fiona Jenning, regional ISPCC representative, said bullying is a consistent issue that needs to be addressed.

“Through the Shield My School campaign, the ISPCC offers support to the whole school community in actively responding to this concern,” she said. “We hope that Gaeslscoil na Cruaiche will be the first of many schools [to win the Blue Shield Flag] nationally.”

For more information on the campaign visit www.ispcc.ie or telephone (01 ) 676 7960.

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