THERE’S no one way to stop bullying, but trying to stamp it out is better than staying silent.
Leeton shire’s St Joseph’s Primary School is trialling one way of doing just that with new “anti-bullying ambassador badges”.
The badges have been handed out to the Student Representative Council (SRC) and school leaders, who will use them in a positive way to help their peers.
The idea is for these ambassadors to now monitor bullying behaviour, try to be proactive through encouraging their peers, demonstrating appropriate behaviour themselves, as well as reporting incidents and saying “stop it, I don’t like it” if a negative situation arises.
Students won’t be alone in their endeavours, with teachers to support them in their roles, as well as continuing their own strategies in addressing bullying.
St Joseph’s assistant principal Luisa Tavella said it was a hard issue to tackle, but one which couldn’t be left untouched.
”We’re always looking for different ways to try and approach bullying,” Mrs Tavella said.
“This approach allows the students to take on ownership for their behaviour, as well as that of others, with the support of staff.
“It can be a difficult issue and it’s something that happens everywhere. We recognise bullying does happen and we want to try and stop that behaviour and minimise the effect it has on the students.”
St Joseph’s will be participating in the national awareness day on Friday titled “Bullying, No Way”, as well as Harmony Day.
Bullying, No Way is the national day of action against those behaviours and it hopes to create awareness among students, parents and staff.
A national study in 2009 found frequent school bullying was highest among year 5 (32 per cent) and year 8 (29 per cent) students. Eighty-three per cent of students who bully others online also bully others in person.
The damning figures also found peers were present as onlookers in 87 per cent of bullying interactions and they play a central role in the bullying process.
That statistic in particular could be addressed by St Joseph’s anti-bullying ambassadors as they have now been encouraged to take a stand when they feel someone is being bullied and report it to their teachers.
St Joseph’s has been following what is known as the Kids Matter framework for some time where each week a certain behavioural concept is introduced to students and explained. Those who best exhibit those qualities are rewarded with a certificate at the end of the week.
“It’s important for the students to be learning about different ways to behave … this week we are focusing on ‘being agreeable’ and last week’s theme was ‘being good natured’,” Mrs Tavella said.