Bressie (Niall Breslin) and the Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon are aiming to tackle bullying in Irish schools. The two honoured 13 primary and secondary schools for tackling racism and achieving diversity standards resulting in them receiving Yellow Flag status at a multicultural ceremony of pupils representing 83 nationalities and cultures.
The ‘8 step Yellow Flag’ programme means each school must meet specific targets to create an environment where identity and racism bullying is challenged and diversity and equality are embedded within whole school practice. Of the 2016 flag recipient schools three out of 10 students surveyed reported to have experienced racism last year and 85% said they would “like their school to provide time to celebrate different cultures, languages, religions and identities.”
The multi-level programme for pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community was established seven years ago to help support schools create cross-cultural understanding, racial harmony and equal recognition of religious and ethnic traditions which would reflect Ireland’s diversity with school populations comprising over 200 different cultures.
Speaking at the awards, Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon said:
“I am delighted to support this hugely important initiative whereby schools, young people and whole communities are encouraged to understand and fight discrimination. The Yellow Flag programme, which promotes integration and diversity, goes a long way to helping all children and young people to realise their human rights. It is crucial to engage these children and young people at the earliest possible opportunity so that they learn the value and benefits of diversity and tolerance in society.”
Musician and Voice of Ireland coach Bressie addressed the children who attended the colourful and multicultural ceremony of visual, musical and narrative presentations, some in colourful costumes representing their national dress. The ceremony was jointly hosted by broadcaster author and former RTÉ children’s Elev8 presenter Diana Bunici and Dil Wickremasinghe, broadcaster, actor, and social activist. The locations of recipient schools included: Louth, Cork, Dublin, Meath, Kerry, Wicklow and Kildare.