Coláiste Gleann Lí- flying the flags for anti-bullying and positive mental health promotion
Coláiste Gleann Lí has become the first school in Kerry and one of only 5 post-primary schools nationally to be presented with the ISPCCs ‘Anti-bullying’ flag. The accolade is presented in recognition of the school community’s commitment to strengthening their preventative and proactive approach to bullying. The prestigious flag was raised by Kerry player and School Mentor Darren O’ Sullivan on the 8th of February last to the applause of the students and staff of the post-primary school.
The ‘Anti-bullying Flag’ is an honour bestowed on schools that have made concrete efforts to ensure the implementation of an evidence-informed approach to the management and prevention of bullying. The flag is awarded to schools and clubs that not only fully implement the ISPCCs Shield Campaign but fulfill six additional criteria, such as: completing the ISPCC Shield My School of Anti-Bullying Toolkit; ensuring a dedicated Anti-Bullying coordinator is assigned within the school; installing the ISPCC ‘Stand Up' Report (online) Tool to their web page; as well as a range of cross-curricular events and activities. One of the most noticeable visual reminders of the school’s proactive approach to positive mental health is the large anti-bullying wall that greets you as you enter the main corridor. This wall was created by the students and is regularly updated with information and supports available to students.
At the official launch, the ISPCC’s Sinead McKee commended the staff and students of Coláiste Gleann Lí for their continuous efforts to prevent and combat bullying in the school. She explained that “All too often within the ISPCC we see the damage and impact bullying can have on a young person’s self-esteem and confidence. The experience of bullying can prevent a young person from reaching their full potential in childhood and can have long lasting negative effects into adulthood. The ISPCC are extremely proud of Coláiste Gleann Lí for taking a preventative and evidence informed approach to bullying. They are now leading the way in the Kingdom, as shining examples on working that extra mile towards the Flag”
The Anti-bullying flag was raised in tandem with a recently awarded ‘Amber Flag’ for positive mental health promotion. The Amber Flag was presented to the school for its relentless work on bringing about a cultural change in the promotion of positive mental health within the school context. This initiative was coordinated by Kerry ETB’s Ms. Niamh Mulligan.
The school’s characteristic spirit has been commended for promoting mental and physical health and for breaking down barriers to inclusion by combatting racism, bullying and isolation. Many of the speakers at the launch commented on the positive feeling they got on entering the school. Youth and Community Engagement Worker with Jigsaw Kerry, Donagh Hennebry captured the sentiment when he commented on the ‘warm, welcoming and open atmosphere that captured him’ when he first came to speak with students a number of years ago. The relationship with agencies, such as Jigsaw has proved invaluable to realizing the school’s objective to lead the way in creating a positive learning environment