WITH National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence only a stone’s throw away, Moree Christian Community School principal Noel Kramer shares some of the ways the local school is staying on top of the issue.
“As part of the Personal Development and Health syllabus, it is a requirement that students are taught about bullying, how to identify a bully and how to deal with bullying,” she said.
Children learn about the life-affecting issue on a regular basis, with particular focus placed on cyber-bullying.
“A lot more bullying is happening online. Children, when they’re at a young age, have trouble identifying it, because they still don’t fully understand privacy,” said Mrs Kramer.
According to Mrs Kramer, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 13 to have a social media account. But enforcing the law is another matter.
“So many of our young students have a Facebook account, so we try to incorporate technology into our lessons about bullying,” said Mrs Kramer.
The lessons go beyond the smartphone and electronic devices, as students learn how to deal with a bully face-to-face.
A handmade poster hangs in the shaded area of the playground. ‘Bullying no Way’ is painted in large black letters with painted hand prints sprinkled around the motto.
“The students are as much a part of this campaign as the teachers and staff. They realise they’re the solution to the problem. It’s not just up to the principal or teachers to stop bullying, but also the pupils. It’s a shared responsibility,” said Mrs Kramer.
Add to the poster the colourful ‘buddy benches’ sitting on the playground, and Moree Christian Community School appears on top of the issue.
“The idea is that if a student is feeling down or left out, other students will come up to them and ask if they want to join in their game,” said Mrs Kramer.
Mrs Kramer said that bullying was not such a big issue for the students—a blessing of studying at a smaller school.
“Everybody knows each other and gets along so well because of it,” she said.
Even so, she said that was no reason to ignore the issue.
“The school is always teaching students about bullying in some way or other.”