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French president Emmanuel Macron on Thursday announced new mesures to tackle bullying in schools, which affects one child in ten. Among these, the introduction of a new mobile application to enable victims and witnesses report problems.
To mark a national day of awareness on the dangers of school bullying, French President Emmanuel Macron posted a video message on social media.
“Despite measures already taken, bullying is still rife in schools, on social networks, without any break for the victims,” he said.
“That’s why we will continue to work on this, in particular because student victims are often isolated and are scared. We must make it easier for them to report what they’re going through.”
As well as the existing 3020 hotline for harassment and 3018 for cyberbullying, Macron said a new mobile application would be launched in February to allow victims or witnesses to send screen grabs to show harassment taking place, to better support victims.
Macron and his wife Brigitte, a former teacher, hosted a group of young people at the Elysées Palace on 4th of November to discuss the problems around school bullying.
Risk of suicide
Recent statistics show that nearly one in ten children has experienced some form of violence or harassment at school, which in extreme cases can lead to suicide, as was the case with 14 year-old Dinah, in October and 12 year-old Chanel, both found hanged.
“We will also step up our support for special homes for teenagers, and open centres across the country, where young people can come and talk to someone,” Macron said.
Macron also referred to a pilot initiative for students starting high school as of 2022, in the form of a “certificate of social media and digital technology,” with the objective of renewing it annually.
To emphasise the notion of collective responsibility, Macron has proposed to change the law to improve parental control, so that it would be installed automatically on all telephones, computers, tablettes used by children.
“We can win this fight against bullying by taking responsibility, and listening to our children, and relying on the excellent work done by organisations everyday, by supporting the national education system which has changed so much these past years, and we will speed up our efforts. It is possible,” he said.
“It is possible, but only if we keep communicating, as long as we don’t give into the law of silence, indifference and shame. We won’t give up.”