The Malta Independent 14 December 2018, Friday

‘Bullying is never justified’ - The Office of the Commissioner for Children

Monday, 6 August 2018, 15:07 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Office of the Commissioner for Children has said that it firmly believes that bullying/harassment is never justified, stressing that it is the role of parents/guardians, educators and educational institutions and all other significant adults to ensure that all children, including children of politicians, are protected from all forms of bullying, harassment and/or discrimination.

“It is only through responsible adult example that children learn to respect their peers even when they do not agree with them,” the Office wrote.

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Speaking in a press release, the Office of the Commissioner for Children said that: “Being in the public eye may have repercussions on one’s children irrespective whether one is in the entertainment industry, a successful entrepreneur or involved in politics. This is especially the case due the size and density of our country where polarised political discussion is the norm.

In light of this, it is the responsibility of all those who have any sort of impact on the lives of children to protect children from the fallout of this polarisation. One of the ways would be to instil respect for others even if they hold different beliefs be they political, religious or otherwise.”

The Office of the Commissioner’s statement comes after the Prime Minister’s wife Michelle Muscat claimed in an interview with Malta Today that San Anton School failed to adequately protect her children from bullying in the midst of the Egrant allegations. 

Muscat’s statement was followed by a Times of Malta article from Kristina Chetcuti, the partners of former PN leader Simon Busuttil, in which she latter argued that bullying was a part of growing up and criticised Muscat for allowing her children to use social media, despite the age restrictions.

“You avoid social media bullying by actually following the rules: children under 13 should NOT have Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat accounts. School ground bullying is bound to happen. It can be because your children’s classmates think that your politician husband is absolute rubbish, but it could also be because your child wears specs or gets better grades or has a funny accent. You need to arm your children with witty replies and punches, and not making them feel they are little princes or princesses who deserve special treatment,” Chetcuti wrote.

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