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School Bullying Reflects `Culture Of Brutality' - Dunne

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Peter Dunne. Pic: NZPA
Peter Dunne. Pic: NZPA

Wellington, Dec 15 NZPA - New Zealand's poor ranking in relation to primary school bullying in an international league table is a reflection of a "culture of brutality", United Future leader Peter Dunne says.

The comparison comes in the Trends In International Mathematics And Science Study (TIMSS), where New Zealand was ranked second worst among 37 countries when it comes bullying in primary schools.

Almost three-quarters of about 5000 New Zealand year five students said they had been bullied in the past month.

The same study, which was released last week, also found that overall New Zealand students performed below the international average in maths and science.

When it came to bullying only Tunisia ranked lower -- with 77 percent of students reporting bullying in the last month.

Bullying was defined as having something stolen, being hit or hurt by another student, left out, made fun of, or made to do something you didn't want to do.

New Zealand also ranked second worse when it came to students experiencing three or more of those forms of bullying in the past month, with 33 percent reporting such experiences.

Only Taiwan, with 35 percent, was worse.

Mr Dunne today said the figures were a "shameful disgrace" and urgent action was needed.

He said anti-bullying, and "character education" programmes were needed in primary and intermediate schools.

"The culture of brutality that we have tolerated for too long has to stop," he said.

But some education groups have questioned whether isolated instances of the examples cited equated to bullying, which is usually viewed as systematic in nature.

Some have also suggested the figures could reflect a high awareness of bullying among New Zealand school children following recent campaigns.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Anne Tolley said she saw bullying in schools as a serious issue that needed to be addressed.

She was awaiting seek a briefing from officials on the figures.

About New Zealand primary schools took part in the study, for which 600 New Zealand principals and teachers were surveyed as well as 4940 year five students.

NZPA PAR gf nb

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