High Commissioner delivers opinion on school bullying and violence bill

High Commissioner delivers opinion on school bullying and violence bill

23 September 2021

The High Commissioner appeared before the National Council’s Committee on Education and Young People, chaired by Marc Mourou, as part of the review of a bill on bullying and violence in schools.

Stemming from a bill proposed by the National Council in December 2019, this text seeks to give due consideration to this harmful trend that has an adverse impact on the atmosphere in schools and on children’s ability to develop in a safe and caring environment. It draws on methods that have been proven to work in other countries, particularly in Scandinavia.

The High Commissioner welcomed the legislature’s initiative to tackle head-on an issue that is so critical to children’s wellbeing and development, making use of an approach that is both structuring and innovative, based on promoting a supportive and inclusive school community and on giving greater weight to education over punishment.

The High Commissioner was nonetheless disappointed that the stated ambitions of the bill’s promoters were not better reflected in the draft legal mechanism, which has been reduced to a classically punitive bill, with the exception of provisions introduced to formally establish a strengthened framework for combatting such behaviour in schools and within the Department of Education, Youth and Sport.

Consequently, the High Commissioner encouraged the legislature to return to the fundamentals of the draft law, which are also set out in the explanatory memorandum for the Government’s text, to ensure that the future legislation makes it possible to transition from the ‘awareness/punishment’ model that is currently used towards an approach that is more focused on prevention and support. This will allow work to be done at a very early stage on pupils’ social and emotional skills, and will prioritise the resolution of situations through education, dialogue and reparation.

Download the documents