On Thursday 21 March, we will be recognising Harmony Day and National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence by wearing orange. Students are welcome to wear free dress on this day.
Parents can explore the Harmony Week website for more information about this annual celebration. As part of our celebration of cultural diversity, parents are requested to send our Community Liaison Officer a photo of their child in "cultural dress" to create a collage of diversity. Please send the photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. By sending the photo, you are agreeing to the publication of this photo in an edition of Moggill Matters.
Often, particularly at this time of year, there is a lot of discussion regarding bullying in the media, in schools and between parents. Luckily, bullying isn't as frequent as it is often portrayed in primary schools. It's important to remember that students integrate the values and social norms from the school and wider community social contexts as they develop their personal relationships. As bullying occurs within a social context (not just in schools), parents can use the many opportunities that arise to talk with their child about how people behave in various social situations and how people get on with each other. If your child tells you about things at school or you see things in public that involve conflict or bullying, and if it appropriate, take the opportunity to talk about what bullying is.
First, make sure you have a clear idea yourself by checking out the formal definition of bullying at What is bullying? You can also find ways to describe bullying that are suitable for children of various ages here. It's important for parents to point out to their child that bullying is not just when someone is mean to you once, but it happens over and over and makes you feel like you can't stop it. If you want, you could use some of these questions:
What do you think 'bullying' is?
Have you seen bullying happening? What did you do? How did you feel?
Why do you think some people bully other kids?
Who are the adults you would talk to when it comes to things like bullying?
Have you ever felt scared to go to school because you were afraid of someone bullying you?
Has someone tried to bully you? What ways have you tried to change it?
What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?
So what is bullying? Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.
Bullying can happen in person or online, via various digital platforms and devices and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time (for example, through sharing of digital records).
Bullying of any form or for any reason can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.
Behaviors that do not constitute bullying include:
not liking someone or a single act of social rejection
one-off acts of meanness or spite
isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation or violence.
However, these conflicts still need to be addressed and resolved.
For more information about bullying, and how you as a parent can respond if your child discloses that they are being bullied, you can go to the Bullying. No Way! website.