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FRIDAY 25 MAY 2007: Michael Milton helped launch National Safe Schools Week at Parliament House in Canberra yesterday (Thursday 24 May).

The focus this year is on bullying and the Government used the opportunity to announce funding of $200,000 for research. Milton says he is well qualified to talk on the subject.

'As a kid with a disability, I was an easy target. Most kids were great but there were some...

'I don't think I dealt with it very well back then and would certainly approach it differently now. Many of us (now adults) were victims of bullying at school. But with technology like mobile phones and the internet, bullies are now able to continue their harrassment 24 hours a day which makes it that much harder to deal with.

'I guess I'd like to see kids take responsibility for ridding their school communities of bullying.

'I was surprised to learn that almost 20 per cent of boys and 15 per cent of girls report being victims of bullying each week. Iitiatives like Safe Schools Week encourage school children to discuss the issues openly and come up with their own solutions. Our children deserve to feel safe at school,' said Milton.

The National Safe Schools Week is an active, innovative and whole school oriented week-long event encompassing the concepts of caring, supporting and looking out for others.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all members of the school community are protected.

The week is an Australian Government initiative, run in collaboration with State and Territory Governments, which aims to: Showcase the good work school communities are undertaking to implement the National Safe Schools Framework; Raise community awareness of the importance of all members of a school community having the right to learn or teach in a safe and supportive environment, free from all forms of bullying, harassment, violence, abuse and neglect; Build on national initiatives to support the National Safe Schools Framework.

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