Dunderdale says stopping bullying starts with parents

James McLeod
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Premier Kathy Dunderdale helps serve healthy breakfasts at MacDonald Drive Junior High Wednesday morning. Speaking to reporters, she talked about recent bullying incidents that have made headlines around the province.
— Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Premier Kathy Dunderdale said Wednesday the government needs to work with parents to fight bullying in the wake of a pair of high-profile incidents.

Dunderdale said the government takes bullying seriously, but stopped short of calling for anti-bullying legislation.

“We’re doing all kinds of things around anti-bullying, and often there are underlying issues,” she said. “I mean, we’re going to continue to work with schools and we’re going to continue to work with parents, and parents being the most important group that we need to engage with.”

The comments come in the wake of a reported incident in Blaketown in which two girls allegedly attacked a third girl. A large group of young people were apparently present, some of them reportedly recording the fight on their cellphones.

In another incident last week, a man with a physical disability was allegedly lured into the woods in Mount Pearl by young people and beaten and robbed.

Dunderdale said bullying is the responsibility of parents, first and foremost, but the government has to support them.

“Bullying is a  serious issue and ... our schools are working hard to eliminate it, but parents have to be engaged in this issue as well,” she said. “There’s only so much you can expect schools to do. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that their children are acting appropriately and to provide whatever guidance or supports are required to make sure that happens.”


Twitter: TelegramJames

Geographic location: Blaketown, Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Santo
    October 11, 2012 - 11:29

    Gone are the days when a bully only asked for your lunch money, or lunch if it was better then theirs. We are not dealing with bullies. We are dealing with young criminals, with no morals. Don't this so? A planned attack on a disabled young man is not bulling! It's a criminal act. The beating of a 13 yr old in a ditch, by 2 other teens, this is assult, not bulling. My little niece started kindergarten this year, a little boy was pulliing her hair and making her cry....this is a bully! How we can put this in the same light as brutal beatings is just stupid. Teens today are wild and out of control, and I say this as the parent of a teen. I see things that are going on, stories told, and the matter of fact attitude that nothing can "happen to me, I'm a minor". While my child hasn't got into any trouble (thank heaven) she is well aware as I am sure all teens are, that there is very little punishment for those who create these crimes. They are crimes remember, If I did the same things as a middle aged woman, woudn't I be charged with assault, but would I be called a bully? Perhaps it's time to send a message to our young people, we are sick of your attitude, and we are not going to take it anymore. do the crime - do the time!

  • reformed bully
    October 11, 2012 - 10:06

    I was a bully when I was little. I was bullied by my big brothers, so I took it out on other kids smaller than me. I was "cured" when I got shoved by somebody who was fed up with my antics. Some of the kids who bully are probably being bullied at home, so how can the home help? Treat your kids like people and teach siblings not to bully. Respect is learned, not forced.

  • DON II
    October 11, 2012 - 09:49

    Come on! This is just Government of Newfoundland Public Relations baloney. The Premier is not serious about her Government taking bullying seriously. If she really got rid of the bully mentality in schools where would she get her new crop of bureaucrats and Cabinet Ministers from?

  • Jeff
    October 11, 2012 - 09:29

    So I agree with the header text, but disagree with Dunderdale's comments. For those of us that are 30 or older, how many of you recall bullying being a worldwide issue?? Who recalls being somewhat intimidated by your teacher?? Who recalls putting up your 2 fists, dealing with a bully, and going to school the next day with either a huge smile on your face for tapping up a bully (who are 99% cowards), or losing the fight with a fat lip or something?? Either way you were just walking on air you were so proud of yourself. My father always told me, if you're being bullied, concentrate on the nose. The punch them square right on that mark. 1 of 2 things will happen. He will back off and look like the coward he is, or he will retaliate and beat you up. Either way, you get the respect of your classmates and most importantly yourself. It's a tough world out there and kids are mean. that will never change. Growing up is not easy and kids need to learn to just say F*%k it, and pop the loser bully in the nose. This needs to be preached to the kids today from the parents. Just like I will be preaching it to mine. Sounds harsh, but I was bullied as a kid, my father told me to fight back and that he wanted me to take care of myself. I did just that, and it made me a stronger person, the bully got his a## kicked several times after, and I went on to live a life with pride, rather than internal scars.

  • NowIsee
    October 11, 2012 - 08:36

    Its too late really. Look in the news. The teenagers are running wild doing as they please. No curfews, no responsibility, no consequences. They don't have homework or don't have to hand in assignments at school if they don't feel like it. No one left behind anymore right. Don't chastise your child because that will hurt their feelings. Don't let them believe there is such a thing as failing in life, because that wont ever happen to anyone anymore lol. Bullying does start at home and it is part the parents fault but it is only going to get worse because little Johnny is "such a great kid". Parents are at wits end and there is no end in sight. The next generation will be wicked.

  • Doug
    October 11, 2012 - 08:28

    Dlunderdale talking about how to stop Bullying is like the Pot calling the Kettle Black! Doesn't she realize that she and her governmental has been acting like a Big Bully since they won the last election. First off, she has reneged on her election promises. She has effectively told us that she does not want to be questioned by passing a Bill to limit the release of information. She has been pushing the Muskrat Falls through without concern for those will have to pay for it. she first said that there would be no debate on Muskrat Falls - like a Bully - but later said that there would be a "rule & time limited" debate on it. she gives forceful, Bully-like speeches telling the naysayers to "put up or shut-up!". she doesn't care that the naysayers are the people of Nfld who do not trust her government to make good decisions on their behalf. She does not care that the provinces aging population are worried about the promised increased power bills. Like all Bullies, she does not care! She does not have compassion and will Bully her way through - without regard for our people!

  • W Bagg
    October 11, 2012 - 08:24

    it certainly doesn't start in the house of assembly

  • Kathy
    October 11, 2012 - 07:35

    Starting with parents is really a pile of bunk! yes parents need to be involved but I know my daughter was tortured by bullies all through school and every time she reported an incident it always came down to the school officials saying 'ok, who witnessed the incident, we can't just take your wqord." Sad really beause we all know no one will rat on a bully because they are then risking being the next target. Children would often tell my daughter they wanted to speak up but feared the outcome. School officials arew given the charge and care of our children for so many hours per day. During that time if any child reports an incident, the bully should be diciplined and the parents called in for a meeting! Why doubt the victim? I say doubt the bully because if a child is capeable of being a bully you can be sure they are likely pretty good at telling lies as well. The child being bullied should never be identified when dicipline is handed out or parents called because more than likely the bully has more than one target. My daughter is now an adult but the remmenants of the effect the bullies had on her linger to this day. Shame on all bullies and the system that is too weak to address the issue. Antibulling policies in our schools are mostly only a cover your ass paper exercise. There is no real action against this horrible behaviour.

  • Jerome
    October 11, 2012 - 07:22

    Kathy Dunderdale is right for once. The parents should start right from pre-school and elementary school teaching their child how to get along with others, sharing, being kind, etc. It is too late when violent actions and inconsideration of others shows up in high school age. Times have certainly changed. When I was young, if we didn't have the fear of God in us, we certainly had the fear of our mother and father's "discipline".

  • BI
    October 11, 2012 - 07:10

    Hi - one more thing - parents have children and should be able to look after them - it is called parenting - discipline is one of these parenting skills. Also, why do parents have children if they can't feed them, and the provinces have started healthy breakfasts at schools which must cost millions of dollars throughout Canada. As you can't tell who can afford breakfast and who can't, all the kids benefit. Why aren't parents feeding their own children - it's their responsibility.

    • JB
      October 11, 2012 - 10:11

      The program, BI, is not about being unable to provide for your family. It gives a health start to the day which is essential to learning. The program has been going on for the last 15 years; parents do donate to the program. I think it is wonderful that children don't have to eat granola bars on the run because they have to be up and ready to catch a bus at 730 in the morning. You obviously don't have children. I bet you don't think that way when it comes to healthcare.......government pays for that!

  • BI
    October 11, 2012 - 07:06

    The problem with bullying is that there is no discipline in the home and no consequences for doing things like this case. This will grow until something can be done to curb the children from this type of thing and it is time to bring in a little discipline. To have a child say to your face that 'you can't touch me' or I will report you is extreme. The bible says to 'train up a child in the way he should go'. I am not a corporal punishment person, but if something isn't done in the home first, how do parents expect the teachers to handle the children in class. IF the teachers knew about this bullying and didn't do anything to stop it; then they are just as much at fault. One week off isn't a punishment - they will enjoy the 5 days off, and I hope these girls are charged. You do the crime you pay the time. Maybe living a life away from home in some institution is what is needed to bring them to their senses. No consequences for their actions will breed more bullying.

  • victim of bullying
    October 11, 2012 - 06:56

    I agree that parents need to be involved but lets face it, there are parents out there who don't care! Their Johnny or Suzie can do no wrong.....where is the help and support there? There needs to be an anti-bullying legislation.

  • Eli
    October 11, 2012 - 06:45

    What a bloody hypocrite!

  • Political Watcher
    October 11, 2012 - 06:28

    Correct me if I am wrong but does anyone else think the media is minimizing the attack on the disabled man in Mount Pearl. While there are many actual acts of bullying going on inmour schools, the act last wek in Mount Pearl is a criminal act. These teens took it upon themselves to beat and rob a person and to label it as bullying is an injustice to the victim. Just think how a judge would sentence someone for bullying vs physically attacking and robbing someone. Please stop comparing the two issues.