Hills Adventist College has among its many aims the creation of an environment in which every child has the right to feel safe and valued and where, provided they respect the rights of others, individual differences are accepted.
A COMMUNITY-WIDE APPROACH TO ANTI-BULLYING
Bullying is a threat to any school or workplace if it goes unchallenged. Workplace bullying exists all over the world between mature adults, who have spent years receiving good advice, often not setting the best of examples. Any school that claims to have zero bullying 100 per cent of the time would not be telling the truth. As young people attempt to establish themselves in their world, they can struggle in social situations, sometimes establishing themselves at the expense of others.
Bullying is the repeated intimidation of others, not one-off incidents. It is the purposeful attempt to control others and can be physical, emotional and social. In today's cyber world bullying is no longer just face-to-face, it can occur on social media as well as in the school yard. Schools have been the hotbed of bullying stories and the effects of what happens at school can follow young people into their adult life, affecting their well-being and mental health, their confidence, and their ability to relate to others. It is essential that a school be open about what bullying is and how to report it and manage it. Walking past it or not disclosing it simply condones it.
Many schools now liaise with parents and communicate where there are issues between students. Whilst incidents of bullying are rare at Hills Adventist College, we ask that parents be aware of and report specific bullying incidents that come to their attention or any of the following signs:
- Physical injuries that cannot be easily explained
- Changes in appetite
- Personal items going missing
- Withdrawal from social gatherings
- Loss of sleep
- Any type of self-harm
In a western or developed culture obsessed with winning, combined with a mass media that is flooded with violent images, young people can feel that ‘might is right’ and before they can appropriately manage themselves, they believe that dominating others in a powerful way is somehow expected of them.
Bullying can also occur online via many social media sites and this can be relentless if not managed properly. The playground teasing for some can go on into the evening. Writing comments about others and posting them can lead to problems for some, and without good supervision of our children, it can lead to exclusion, poor online behaviour, and individuals being marginalised within the community.