A total of 366 of bullying in schools were referred to the authorities in 2021, with the figure announced by President Emeritus Marie Louise Coleiro Preca during a press conference. The conference on justice initiatives in schools follows an incident on January 17th wherein a 12-year-old girl was filmed being attacked savagely by other students.
After the parents shared the video to highlight the problems of bullying and make it publicly known, the school has said it is taking disciplinary action and the police have confirmed that the case is being investigated. The Ex-President was referring to the statistics from the Anti-Bullying Unit which coordinates programmes against the phenomenon in schools and provides training to staff and parents.
Coleiro said that from these numbers we can see that last week’s report of the shocking bullying attack is not an isolated case. ‘There are so many children who face similar situations, some left unidentified, unfortunately’ she said. In 2019, over 500 cases of bullying were referred to the authorities. The pandemic and the ensuing measures in 2020 made it difficult to collect statistics.
However, of last year’s 366 referrals, 130 came from primary schools, with most reported from government schools (134), with only two reports from Church schools and none from independent schools. 123 cases were reported in government middle schools, with another three from Church schools and one from independent schools. 113 cases were from secondary schools, with 97 being from government schools, five from church schools and one from an independent school.
Over 1,200 sessions were held between a professional and a student who suffered from bullying. The conference was organised by the Malta Foundation for the Well-being of society in collaboration with Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis and Education Minister Clifton Grima.