School children in Ireland who are practicing Catholics are being bullied for being religious, an Irish legislative committee has heard. Source: Irish Post.
Religion teachers from schools across Ireland are concerned that schoolchildren who are practicing Catholics – who regularly attend Mass and hold traditional Catholic beliefs – are being targeted at school for appearing “old-fashioned” or “out of the mainstream culture”.
While most schools in Ireland are Catholic schools, and close to 80 per cent of the population describe their religion as Catholic according to the 2016 Census, a growing number of people do not practice the religion, and may attend Christenings and Communions simply as it is part of Irish culture rather than any true belief in the practice.
This has led to practicing Catholics being singled out for bullying in schools more than non-religious students, Professor James O’Higgins Norman told the Oireachtas Committee on Education.
As reported by The Irish Times, Professor O’Higgins Normal shared research from Dublin City University’s Anti-Bullying Centre which stated that religion teachers had noticed bullying towards practicing Catholics, and said that it was vital that we “promote understanding of difference, that difference is the norm, a good thing, and no two kids are the same”.
The committee was established to examine the impact bullying has on mental health, and Professor O’Higgins Norman’s team has suggested that more efforts be made to raise awareness around vulnerable students who may feel like outcasts due to their religion, sexual identity or ethnicity.
Practicing Catholic children bullied for being ‘old fashioned’ and ‘out of the mainstream’, Committee hears (By Rachael O’Connor, Irish Post)