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.”