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Photo by Jo Earl

Bullying Free Week 16 - 20 May

Jo Earl —

All children and young people have the right to feel safe, secure, accepted and valued. This week we are making Bullying Free week a focus for all our students.

Pink Shirt Day

Throughout the week we will post some information on the topic of Bullying for you, our whānau, so that you can support what is being taught at school. On Friday we are finishing with a Pink Shirt Day. Students can add something pink to their uniform, wear a pink shirt, or dress totally in pink should they wish to really bring attention to the topic.

What is bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behaviour that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Kids who bully use their power – such as physical strength, knowing something embarrassing, or popularity – to control or harm others. Bullying is when one student (or a group of students) keeps picking on another student again and again to make them feel bad. They say or do mean things to upset them, make fun of them a lot, try to stop them joining in, or keep hitting or punching them. Bullying can happen anywhere, at any time, and can be verbal, physical or emotional. It can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious or hidden.

Bullying is deliberate – harming another person intentionally. Bullying involves a misuse of power in a relationship. Bullying is usually not a one-off – the behaviour is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying involves behaviours that can cause harm – it is not a normal part of growing up.

What is not bullying?

Bullying is a word often used to describe a lot of things that are not actually bullying. These other behaviours may be just as serious as bullying, but may need to be sorted out in a different way. Sometimes there might be a fight or argument between students. If it happens once, it is not bullying even though it can be upsetting. It is also not bullying if someone sometimes fights with a friend and they can sort it out.

Conflict between two or more people who have a disagreement, a difference of opinion or different views (where there is no power imbalance) does not always mean it’s bullying. Not liking someone or a single act of social rejection is not bullying. One-off acts of meanness or spite are not bullying. Isolated incidents of aggression, intimidation or violence are not bullying.

Why does bullying happen? 

Bullying is a relationship problem. Students are bullied for lots of reasons. Sometimes they are bullied because they are different, or because they’re clever or popular. At other times they are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It can be caused by differences in race, sexuality, religion, disabilities and abilities, weight, height, or anything that creates a difference between one child and another. Bullying often comes from a belief that it’s okay to act that way. Students who bully sometimes have problems and are unhappy. They may be trying to make up for a lack of attention, power or love in their own lives. By bullying, they try to get these in their lives. These students need to feel powerful and seem to enjoy harming others. They often don’t understand the feelings of the person they bully. Sometimes they don’t even know that what they are doing is bullying behaviour, or they don’t understand how much hurt and anxiety they cause.

What can you do?

If you feel that your child is being bullied, or is distressed by some conflicts in the playground, please let us know and we will do our very best to address the situation with care and concern for all involved. No child should have to put up with constant pressure that conflict or bullying brings.