Our children must not be made to pay the price for Covid 19

Without doubt when the current Covid 19 Pandemic crisis ends, society will have to make some difficult choices both socially and economically. Some of the most vulnerable in society, which includes our children in schools will suffer, unless there’s a conscious effort made to protect them and address the flaws in safeguarding that have resulted in so many deaths because of bullying and violence. Unless the current flaws in school bullying and violence complaints systems and the lack of accountability is addressed children and families will be counting the cost physically and emotionally for many years to come

The negative social and emotional effects the crisis may have on children’s behaviour when they return to school, reminds us that’s it’s more important than ever that we fight to have steps put in place to mitigate those and ensure laws, policies, accountability measures and oversight are put in place and raised to the highest standards possible.

We’ve seen over the last few years that School safety when it comes to violence and bullying has been far too low a priority for a long time. The temptation to allow standards to slip will be even greater, with so many issues that will be vying for resources and attention when children return. Nothing else in Education is more important than safety and it’s imperative that at this time we are able to hold Government to account and compete for their attention with every other issue that’s deemed essential, to make sure as many children’s lives are saved as possible. 

Ministers and MP’s reject invitation to meetings in Parliament and invitations to be interviewed by the National Media

In the run up to the General Election in December 2019 Numerous Ministers and Mp’s made promises to meet with the Campaign and Families to look into our case that children had been lost to suicide or seriously harmed, as a consequence of failures to properly address bullying and violence complaints in schools.  

After the Election From December to early February, a total of over 650 Ministers and MP’s were invited to attend meetings held in Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. due to take place on February 25th. As stated the aim was to hear evidence from the families and learn how they could prevent this from happening to any other children and families in the future. Only two MP’s attended the meetings and no MP took up the invitation to be interviewed by the National media, including Sky and ITV news throughout the day.

A number of MP’s had agreed to attend but either cancelled at short notice or simply did not show up, with no notification at all or apology at the time or since.  Therefore not for the first time over the last 5 years, Regulators, Government Departments, Ministers and MP’s., have all failed to accept various opportunities to investigate the whole issue, with a view to preventing further deaths and protecting all children from bullying and violence in schools.

It was said by the MP hosting the meeting that other MP’s had discussed attending and everyone had been advised that meeting the campaign group in an open and public meeting was not appropriate but if the families insisted on meeting with MP’s to ensure it was done on a more individual and private basis. There can be no way that Ministers should be allowed to avoid public scrutiny when it comes to the deaths of children in schools and the decision and the explanation for failing to do so, simply raises further questions that we will continue to ask, as to the levels of Government failure that are involved and how far back historically they go.

Our fear is that the deaths and cases we now know of due to bullying and School violence, are only just the tip of the iceberg.

The extent to which the Government are failing children when it comes to how the laws and policies allow bullying and violence in schools that has led to suicides and harm to be ignored, is still not totally clear. Evidence is emerging that the extent of harm and deaths is much greater than at first thought and how far back historically the failings go, looks to have possibly been underestimated.

Given that there has never been a public appeal for families to come forward with evidence and yet already over a 100 families who have lost children or had them seriously harmed as a consequence of bullying and violence in schools have become part of the campaign group with the vast majority doing so simply through a facebook invitation from the Campaign lead.

Evidence has emerged of the issues being raised in Government and Parliament at least back to the early 90’s. Evidence coming out of Northern Ireland is that there is an epidemic in terms of youth suicides related to bullying in schools. In the UK there is also clear evidence to show that sexual violence including incidents as serious as rape can easily be swept under the carpet and ignored by schools under the current laws and legislation. As we’re providing more and more evidence of the failings, instead of this resulting in Government Departments, MP’s and Ministers seeking the truth, they have chosen not to engage in any meaningful way and provide the answers to the necessary questions.

The campaign continues to hear from more and more families throughout the campaign and now the time has come for every question to be answered. It truly is worrying what a full investigation and appeal to families across the UK might uncover but a full investigation is the only way to prevent this happening to others in the future.