Athlone-based Senator, Gabrielle McFadden, has called on her Seanad colleagues to show their support for anti-bullying behaviour by the public wearing of a specially designed badge.
Speaking in the Seanad, she drew attention to an initiative pioneered in the Midlands called ‘I am a Friend’.
“Whether the vector of bullying is through social media or through the more traditional forms of bullying at school, at work, at play, or in the home, we should use every opportunity to stand up and say ‘Stop’,” she said.
“By wearing or displaying the ‘I’m A Friend’ badge, people who support the ideals of ‘I’m a Friend’ make a proud statement that: ‘I do not agree with bullying behaviour’; ‘I do not accept that it is okay for others to bully me’; ‘I will support the victims of bullying in whatever way I can’.
“Just as a team logo or a pioneer pin makes a statement about the wearer, likewise it is hoped that wearing this symbol will spread the message to others that bullying is never acceptable.”
Senator McFadden touched on her own experiences of online bullying before offering to supply “I’m A Friend” badges to all of her Oireachtas colleagues to demonstrate their opposition to bullying and their support for those who have been bullied.