Bullying can happen anywhere. It is important to know what bullying is, and how to address it.
Useful information can be found in the Kia Kaha resource from NZ Police (revised 2012) available to schools.
The identifying features of bullying:
- It is deliberate, hurtful behaviour.
- It is often repeated over a period of time.
- It is often difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves.
- It is difficult for those who bully to learn new social behaviours.
- The bully has, and exercises, power over the victim.
- Cyberbullying can be disseminated very quickly to a wider audience.
Bullying can take a number of forms:
- Physical violence, for example hitting and kicking.
- Bullying of students with special needs, racist or homophobic bullying.
- Emotional and/or verbal, for example name calling, exclusion, threatening and coercion.
- Damage to property, for example taking lunches or destroying school books.
- Cyberbullying, for example by mobile phone and the internet.
- Harassment, for example making a person fear for their own or their family’s safety. All forms of bullying can be damaging to the development of both the person being bullied and the person doing the bullying.
It is our job as adults to model appropriate behaviour and assist the development of all our young people. Could you sometimes be a bully? Check out this link (page 67) http://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/kk-senior-teaching-guide.pdf
Another more recent resource available to schools is called Bullying prevention and response: A guide for schools (2015).
Our principal Phil Tappenden was on the Bullying Prevention advisory group. It has very helpful information in addressing the subject including looking at the participant roles in bullying. We know that student bullying mostly occurs when adults are not within ear shot. Students need to know what to do when bullying occurs and stand up for themselves and others. Hearing from your peers that it’s not okay and getting further help from adults if bullying continues, are important skills for all students to learn.
Our first Bullying-free NZ week is on Monday 16 May until Friday 20 May ending on Pink Shirt Day. Support any activities at school and home around this to reinforce safer, stronger, more respectful communities.
Sue Molloy, School Counsellor