Bullying still a daily problem in Dutch schools though fewer kids affected

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The number of kids being bullied at school in the Netherlands is decreasing, though it is till a problem many children face on a daily basis, according to State Secretary Sander Dekker of Education. This year 10 percent of primary school kids were harassed by a bully at least once a month, compared to 14 percent two years ago. In high school, that figure decreased from 11 to 8 percent. 

"This is very good news", Dekker said about the decrease at the start of the Week against Bullying on Monday. "It involves tens of thousands of children who go to school feeling better and more secure." He is pleased at everyone involved's efforts in recent years to reduce bullying, but adds that there is still much to be done. "These figures show that you can make a difference, if you actively and seriously work on it at school."

"Bullying has an enormous impact on the lives of children. They feel sad, often do not want to go to school and lose their self-confidence. So we must continue to fight for a safe school environment. Each child that's being bullied is one too many."

Bullying reached the top of politicians' agenda following a number of suicides four year's ago. Dekker and former Children's Ombudsman Marc Dullaert set up a plan and implemented a law that better regulates the responsibility of schools when it comes to students' security.

The PO-Raad and VO-Raad, the councils for primary and high schools in the Netherlands, are also pleased that the schools' efforts are starting to show results. "These figures again provide pointers to continue the discussion on social security with pupils, parents and the teaching team", Rinda den Besten of the PO-Raad commented. Paul Rosenmuller of the VO-Raad adds: "It is a good start. We continue to fight hard to keep the battle against bullying high on the agenda in all schools."

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