Education

Anti-bullying needs community support

RUHEE KHAN

NEW types of bullying, such as cyber and covert bullying, have made it harder for schools to combat the problem.

Australia Primary Principal Association president Norm Hart said there was a community responsibility when dealing with bullying.

“It cannot simply be said that it is the role of the school to deal with bullying,” Mr Hart said.

“Family service department, church groups, SchoolAid, the Foundation for Young Australians are all examples of agencies that have programs that address bullying.”

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence was held on 18 March, promoting community awareness towards bullying.

Bond University associate professor Amy Kenworthy said everyone everywhere, of every age and demographic group, were responsible for preventing bullying.

“It is an important step to have a national day of action against bullying and violence. It will bring schools and communities together every year,” Dr Kenworthy said.

“National Day of Centre against Bullying lists five types of bullying physical, verbal, social, psychological, and cyber.”

The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study shows about one in every four Australian students were affected by bullying.

One Goal, One Community: students educating students about bullying

Dr Kenworthy runs the One Goal One Community program, an anti-bullying initiative started last year aimed at uniting the community against destructive behaviour.

As part of the One Goal One Community, university students talk to elementary and high school students, sharing information.

The talks cover the types of bullying, how to identify it, the consequences involved and ways to move forward.

About 6,000 primary and high school students in the southern Gold Coast have participated in the program.

Progress in action

Merriwa Primary School deputy principal Andy Meadlane said there needed to be a positive behavioural approach towards bullying.

“Everyday is an anti-bullying day,” Mr Meadlane said.

At the start of this year Merriwa Primary School formed a Behavioural Committee comprised of teachers targeting antisocial behaviour.

Other initiatives include: reward activities for students with good behaviour, held every school term.

Mr Meadlane said during lunch and recess, teachers wear bright vests so students can easily find them.

The school raised awareness of cyber bullying with experts teaching students about the potential dangers of social networking sites, emails and mobile phones. Click to see the slideshow.

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