CYBER bullying is a topical subject at the moment and is one that Laois VEC is eager to discuss at this year’s IVEA (Irish Vocational Education Association) congress. Councillor Mary Sweeney speaking in her role as Laois VEC chairperson told this month’s meeting of Laois VEC that she has been lobbying the IVEA on cyber bullying for some time.
Cllr Sweeney wants to bring the topic to congress in September and “get national feedback on it”. “We need to look at cyber bullying and what we need to do. Portlaoise College’s policies are exceptional but it needs to be tightened. it is very difficult to control when there are so many avenues of connectivity”.
Her sentiments were echoed by staff representative Gerry Quinn who said that bullying knows no boundaries. “It does need to be addressed and strategy is needed. This is part of a wider problem and people can suffer terribly. Teachers and figures of authority are very vunerable and it requires very few students to cause a huge amount of stress,” he said.
Cllr Sweeney said that within the VEC there are group policies in place but that accidents can happen. “You have to have a very tight policy, for instance in Portlaoise College there are no phones at all allowed during college. You have to look at text bullying as well as cyber bullying. Students have so much access to everything and this is just a precautionary warning. Some parents are not familiar with Facebook and Twitter and mightn’t even realise what their children are doing on the internet. This is a note of caution to be aware of it.”