The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says that in all actions concerning children the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
“Children have a right to be free from violence and abuse while at school and our schools need support to ensure this becomes a reality,” Chief Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford says.
On 14 November last year Mr Rutherford was responsible for a small paper boy (his buddy) and took him to the Supreme Court and to various meetings throughout the day – Buddy Day.
This meant that he was able to think about how his actions and the decisions he made during the day might affect a child and in particular how a child is affected by being in an abusive environment or by actually suffering direct abuse.
“As a child I learnt how bad it could be from my friends at school who told me about getting bashed at home. In the 70’s my father, a school deputy principal, banned corporal punishment in his school because he thought it was wrong and it legitimised those beatings that some kids were getting from their parents,” Mr Rutherford explains.
Last June the Ministry of Education published Bullying Prevention Guidelines for schools. The Human Rights Commission has been promoting the need for guidelines since 2012.
The Ministry established the Bullying Prevention Advisory Group to support schools and communities in responding effectively to bullying.
Read Chief Commissioner Rutherford's Buddy Day speech in full.
Read the Commission's bullying in schools section.