Unnatural part of growing up

1st October 2004 at 01:00
In response to Claire Fox, I disagree that the latest support we are offering to schools, parents and children will inflame parental anxiety - quite the opposite. I believe that parents will be reassured that Government, schools, and voluntary organisations are taking bullying very seriously.

I believe that parents will be encouraged that schools are signing up to our "no-tolerance" approach to bullying, adopting a "Charter for action", and that more than 5,000 educators have attended our Make the difference conferences across the country.

Bullying is not and has never been a "natural part of growing up," "character building" or an inevitable symptom of modern life. It not only damages children's life chances but frequently manifests itself in anti-social behaviour and violence on our streets.

Whether verbal, physical or social exclusion, repetitive and sustained attacks on children have a lasting effect and I make no apologies for tackling this head on.

Ivan Lewis MP

Minister for skills and vocational education Department for Education and Skills Westminster, London SW1

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