In an effort to make sure that our students understood why bullying is so harmful a programme was developed in the school with the support of the National Behaviour Support Service (NBSS) and the School Completion Programme (SCP). This programme, under the leadership of our Behaviour for Learning Teacher Emma Tippins, was delivered to various classes in three separate strands over as many weeks.

A survey was conducted among first and second-years to determine current perceptions of bullying and its prevalence and consequences, while individual class sessions with the young students were subsequently held to work through the myriad types of bullying and the measures available to counter them. The final strand saw a whole school assembly addressed by Colette and Anthony Wolfe whose daughter Leanne took her own life following sustained bullying from some of her peers and who have been involved in awareness programmes since featuring on Would You Believe and Secret Millionaire. The talk given by Leanne’s mum really made an impression on the students and made real for them the terrible consequences of bullying behaviour.

SCP worker Mick Finn said the contribution of the Wolfes was both harrowing and hopeful. “While Leanne’s story was a difficult one to hear, it was very resonant with the lads who were moved by Colette’s honesty and down-to-earth nature and indeed by the potential impact of bullying on victims. We are hopeful that the talk by Colette and Anthony brought the anti-bullying programme full circle and made it relevant on a human scale to the students. We also feel the ongoing education of students regarding bullying will lead to reduced incidences of what is a major problem facing our society,” explained Mick Finn.

The programme in Deerpark CBS was delivered primarily by NBSS teacher Emma Tippins, along with Mick Finn of the Deis Scop SCP and school guidance counsellor Alex Kingston. School principal Kevin Barry stated that it was important that the entire school be made aware of the issue of bullying and take responsibility for its prevention in school. He thanked the Wolfes for their time and for sharing a very difficult story but one which nevertheless needed to be told.

If you would like to hear a radio documentary on the diary of Leanne Wolfe please click here.

The school’s new Anti-Bullying Policy, which was written to comply with the new procedures from the Department of Education can be viewed by clicking on the following; Deerpark CBS Anti-Bullying Policy. All parents should make themselves familiar with the policy and all students had the policy explained to them by the deputy principal, Mr Hyde.