Lothian and Borders Police and their partner agencies in the Scottish Borders have launched a new initiative to tackle bullying in schools.
The Not Alone campaign, which is being piloted in Peebles, will see local police officers, parents and youth charities host a series of assemblies at Peebles High School, where the issue of bullying will be discussed in depth.
In particular, the campaign aims to promote tolerance and acceptance within the school and raise awareness of the different forms of bullying.
LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Youth Scotland will also be in attendance to challenge stereotypes of LGBT young people and encourage those being bullied because of their gender identity or sexual orientation to come forward.
During the seminars, which took place between Tuesday January 10 and Thursday, January 12, pupils were able to purchase Not Alone wristbands to show their support for the campaign.
The message will continue to be delivered throughout the school by the eight S5 pupils who volunteered to form the Not Alone group and act as champions for anti-bullying. These students worked alongside local police officers and LGBT Youth Scotland to develop the Not Alone mission statement and will monitor their classrooms closely to identify anyone involved in bullying, or anyone who is being bullied.
Not Alone has received £500 worth of funding from the Fairer Scotland Fund and if the pilot proves successful, more schools within the Scottish Borders may later become involved.
PC Barry Taylor, locality officer for Tweeddale said: “Bullying is a totally unacceptable form of behaviour and it is extremely important that those who bully realise this, while victims of bullying are made aware of the help and support available to them.
“Not Alone aims to remove bullying from our schools through education and awareness raising, but also by uniting the students and deterring against discrimination.
“We have been delighted with the attitude of the Peebles High School pupils and I’m sure other schools throughout the division would undoubtedly benefit from being involved in this campaign.”