Today, Moriah joined schools across Australia to support the ninth National Day of Action (NDA) against Bullying and Violence. Among other activities, our Primary and High School assemblies featured student-led presentations to address the issues of bullying and highlight the changes we can make to create a safe and supportive environment for everyone.
But positive school culture is not built by posters, t-shirts, assemblies and one day of national action. It comes from the attitudes and actions of every person in the school.
At Moriah College, we recognise that bullying, harassment and victimisation does happen and this needs to change.
What is ‘bullying’?
‘Bullying’ is repeated unreasonable behaviour, whether verbal, physical or social, that causes (or risks) a person suffering physical or psychological harm, such as feeling distressed, intimidated, humiliated, threatened or vulnerable.
Usually, bullying involves an individual or a group misusing their power over someone else. Power can come from being physically strong, popular, or part of a group. The power imbalance might result from:
- having others to back you up
- physical characteristics
- or from personal characteristics such as being stronger, more articulate or more able to socially manipulate others.
Bullying can happen when people are together, or through online behaviour. Bullying can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).
For unreasonable behaviour (such as aggressive pressure, intimidation or singling someone out for cruel or unjust treatment) to qualify as bullying, it has to happen to the victim more than once. However, similar behaviour that happens only once, may constitute harassment or victimisation.
Unfortunately, some people think that this behaviour is funny, or shows strength or toughness. This is simply not true. It is never funny or courageous to threaten, confuse, worry, frighten, physically harm or humiliate another person, and Moriah will never approve of that type of conduct.
Bullying, harassment and victimisation in any form is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Moriah.
Taking action against bullying
Moriah staff members have a duty of care to all members of the school community to take action against bullying.
Separate Anti-Bullying Policies specifically for Years K-2, Years 3-6 and Years 7-12 include a framework for working with parents, students, staff members and other members of the community to prevent and address issues of student bullying in order to ensure an environment that promotes personal growth and fosters positive self-esteem for all.
Moriah’s Anti-Bullying Policies explain what a student can do:
- If you think you are being bullied;
- If you are being bullied online; and
- If you see someone else being bullied, including online.
Bullying is never OK and we encourage students who experience this behaviour or others who witness it, to stand up and report it so that it can be dealt with.
The College takes both a preventative and a responsive approach to bullying.
Prevention strategies include, but are not limited to:
- Fostering an environment of respect, integrity, responsibility, commitment and kindness, with a sense of belonging, where students are related to as individuals
- Using our Peer Support program, House Mentor groups, Student Life meetings and assemblies to teach students about respectful relationships
- Teaching students about violence prevention, conflict resolution, anger management, problem solving, resilience and cybersafety
- Teaching staff members, students and parents what to do if they witness bullying
- Valuing and celebrating diversity
Moriah is committed to creating a school where we care for one another. Every student and staff member has the right to feel safe within our learning and working environment.
About the Author
Roberta Goot OAM is Acting College Principal and Director of Music and Co-Curricular K-12 at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.