Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bullying is rampant in our schools.

Without a doubt, bullying is rampant in our schools. We cannot get away from that unpleasant fact, but we can out the issue on the table for debate and better still, do something about it. Yes, that has been the focus of many staff/parent and student meetings. Yes, it has been swept under the carpet in many schools as they attempt to protect their image. There are programmes in schools, from early childhood right through to secondary. Even in the workplace, such programmes exist, but the problem and its affects do not go away. We know that children’s’ education and social development suffer when bullying is not addressed. The flow on affects are huge, yet we still hear the old adages of ‘toughen up, be more resilient and that’s life.’ Such utterances do not help; they merely perpetuate bullying as normal. I agree that there will always be bullying, but we do not lay down and accept it. It must be challenged, managed and addressed on a school wide stage; better still in a nationwide manner, because we also know of its ramifications in the workplace and on family life. There is the crux---all facets of our lives can be affected by bullying. Schools must introduce programs and have systems whereby bullying is reported and worked though. The victims and the perpetrators must receive help. That means an allocation of resources to bring about this support, but that at a time when resources are ‘limited,’ can be a huge problem in itself. There are so many ‘calls’ on school budgets, so much else going on, re professional development, along the lines of assessment, management; the list goes on. Ask any teacher, who is already snowed under by the requirements, ‘beyond actual teaching.’ There is the added reality that schools ‘compete against one another, as parents try to avoid certain schools and ‘real estate’ issues that drive the decisions as to where to send ones child. Schools tend to downplay bullying, to avoid public scrutiny, therefor leaving a simmering fact that ‘should not be talked about—publicly. Get rid of that and maybe there is hope for a united approach, so that our kids can thrive. The best way of addressing bullying is to talk about it and act. Talk to YOUR school if you have concerns re your child. Use the list below and encourage tour children to seek help themselves. Talk to their teachers, get the kids to talk to counsellors, youth workers, social workers, where those people exists in schools. Above all---do not ignore the issue. Where to get help Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865 (24 hours) Lifeline 0800 543 354 (available 24/7) Youthline 0800 376 633 Kidsline 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays) Depression helpline 0800 111 757 (available 24/7) - NZ Herald