Time to take school bully off line

Bullying is brutal and abysmal. It comes in many forms. It can scar for life and drive people to take their own lives. The young are particularly vulnerable and schooldays are unfortunately times when the bully is at his or her best.

Advances in technology has given the bully a new weapon. Social network sites and the mobile phone now give him or her the cowardly cloak of anonymity. The bully can be only a few feet away from their victim as they gloat in their despicability.

Cyber-bullying has been highlighted this week by Borders MSP John Lamont. Using Freedom of Information legislation, he’s uncovered the fact that 16 cases of such acts were reported in local schools since 2010 – four in primaries. And that’s only the incidents reported and recorded.

The true figure will be much greater.

Mr Lamont also discovered that, over the past three years, 233 mobile phones were confiscated from pupils in a single secondary school in the Borders. The council did not disclose the name of the school, but said it was the only one which had centrally recorded the confiscations. One can only suspect that there is a link.

There are two extremely worrying aspects here. Why are children allowed to take mobiles into the classroom? They are banned in many workplaces, so why not the classroom? And why are the statistics not fully and properly recorded?