Students making hand heart

The Prime Minister, Hon Malcolm Turnbull, has written to all schools in Australia asking them to sign up for this day.

He says: “We believe all students have the right to be safe at school. Bullying and violence has no place in Australia.”

As a Catholic school faithful to the Gospel and the tradition of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, Sacred Heart strives to provide a caring and Christian environment for every member of our community. We do this because the greatest teacher, Jesus, taught us.

Matthew 25:40 tell us "And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, when you did it to one of the least of these brothers and sisters, you did it to me.”

Everyone in our school deserves to be safe, treated with respect, and given the opportunity to be themselves. This is the 'golden rule'; "Treat others as you would like to be treated". Sadly, this is not always the case for every student. We are not that naïve to think that all our students are angels all the time. We are also not able to be witness to every interaction that occurs between every student.

We know that students who are bullied suffer greatly, in their daily lives and in their futures. Bullying is not the occasional disagreement. Bullying is repetitive, prolonged and designed to hurt. An unfortunate fact of life is that social media makes it easier for the cowards to hurt others. Nowadays, bullying can take place 24/7, be anonymous and involve many more bullies. It is difficult for a victim to escape.

Bullying usually involves an imbalance of power and so by its nature, it is cowardly. It usually involves an excessive number of students taunting one or a few others. Therefore, we must rely on the bravest and best of us.

How can we as a school do even more to reduce any bullying? It really comes down to the power of the group. It depends on the prevailing culture in the group. If enough brave students are willing to stand up, as Christians and as decent people, and side with a person being victimised, then the cowardly bullies lose their power. Teachers often relay stories to me of the courage and compassion of our students who stand up for others, who call out bullying and who create a safer place for our students. Well done leaders!

The following excerpt is from our Bullying Policy.

"Strategies that may be used by students if they are aware of someone being bullied:
• If possible, you could intervene as the bullying occurs by telling the bully to stop. This is very useful if you have influence with the bully
• Refuse to join in with the bullying
• Support students who are being bullied - just standing by them can be enough
• Tell a staff member if you are aware of bullying"