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
COLÁISTE GLEANN LÍ STANDS UP TO BULLYING
Coláiste Gleann Lí stands up to bullying and launches the ISPCC bangle in Kerry
The ISPCC has launched its 2016 Shield Campaign, raising awareness of the need to Stand Up Against Bullying, and asking the public to support the campaign by buying a bangle in Penneys’ stores nationwide. Last year, the Penneys bangles raised over €36,000 for the Shield Anti-Bullying programme.
You can support this campaign by simply purchasing a Shield bangle in Penneys Tralee. The ISPCC bangle features the shield pendant with a bangle for women and a band for men, both featuring the blue Shield colour. The bangles cost just €2.50 and you can also buy Shield pins, which cost €2, at all Penneys outlets nationwide. All profits will be donated to the ISPCC Shield programme.
Coláiste Gleann Lí, who were the first school in Kerry to receive the Shield Flag as part of the Shield Anti-Bullying programme, will launch the Shield bangle in Kerry.
IPSCC Chief Executive Grainia Long stated: “In 2015, 7,048 contacts were made to Childline about bullying. The young people we work with in our mentoring and emotional and behavioural support services in the community also bring up bullying as a key issue for them.* The Shield Programme is available to schools, clubs and other groups working with young people, with a range of supports to help them to tackle and prevent bullying – Shield My School Toolkit, Shield My Club Toolkit, Shield Flag and the Shield Youth Award; all developed by the ISPCC to support our communities.
Coláiste Gleann Lí’s Assistant Principal Maryanne Lowney stated: “Colaiste Gleann Li were the first school in Kerry to receive a Shield Flag so we are hoping to encourage other schools in the area to get involved in the anti-bullying campaign. We are delighted to be involved in the Shield campaign and continue to stand up to bullying.
“What you wear can make a difference. Buy your bangle in Penneys Tralee and help support a really good cause.”