Imagine a World Without Bullying

“Imagine a World Without Bullying”

This statement was posed to the Senior School students as part of our acknowledgement of the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, held on March 16. This day, which we mark each year, serves as a reminder of the part we all play in ensuring a safe, supportive and inclusive environment. A group of Year 10 students, Julia Thompson, Charlotte Murdoch and Serena Sitch presented national statistics, tips and strategies to remind the girls to take action if they feel they may be being bullied, or observe any bullying behaviours.

Essential to any discussion of bullying is having a clear definition of what constitutes bullying. St Catherine’s students shared the national definition of bullying for Australian schools with each other. Bullying is defined as ‘an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert)’. [1]

The students viewed a video entitled Bullying is Never OK which provided a simple and straightforward explanation of the definition as well as strategies for victims of bullying as well as bystanders. St Catherine’s students are also provided with ongoing resources via our Student Wellbeing Healthy Relationships page.

The Bullying No Way! website provides excellent resources including the following tips for parents:

Listen calmly and get the full story:
  • Your first response when a child tells you of a concern can make a difference to the outcome.
  • Although you may feel some strong emotions about your child’s experience, try to keep calm to avoid more distress to your child.
  • Your calm response is important to allow your child to tell you all about the situation. After they’ve told you their story, ask questions to get more details if you need to: who, what, where, when?
Reassure your child they are not to blame:
  • Many children blame themselves and this may make them feel even worse.
  • You could say things like, ‘That sounds really hard to deal with. No one should have to put up with that,’ or ‘I’m so glad you told me. You should be able to feel safe at school’.
Ask your child what they want to do and what they want you to do:
  • A critical part of your response is to avoid jumping in to solve the problem.
  • While it is natural to want to protect your child, helping them to find their own solution is a better option. It helps them feel they have some power in the situation.

Learn some strategies here to talk about with your child.

Contact the School

Your child may be reluctant for you to do this, so discuss the idea and reassure them that School would want to know and is able to help. Please contact the Head of Year if you have any concerns.

Check in regularly with your child

Keep the conversation going. It can take time to resolve issues, so check in regularly with your child about their experiences and their feelings. Your ongoing support is important.

As well as discussing how to respond if bullying occurs, the girls were reminded that single incidents and conflict or arguments between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying, but that these interpersonal conflicts can also cause some distress. Students were reminded to seek support if they cannot navigate or resolve the conflict themselves.

Ms Merran O'Connor

Director of Student Wellbeing

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