Standing up to bullies | photos, video

Wauchope High School are taking a stand against bullying.

Pupils and teachers are taking part in a new anti-bullying strategy over the coming months.

It started last Friday – National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence – when students and staff members signed a petition saying: “Bullying stops with me.”

The idea came from Anna Wilson, the school’s full-time social worker.

“I had been alarmed at the number of conflicts occurring at school,” she said.  

“We are talking about physical or emotional aggressive behaviours that are repeated over time, and at the crux of bullying is power – someone holding that power and using it against others.

“I thought it would be good to make a statement about how we want our school and our workplace to be a safe place we can enjoy.”

The head teacher of well-being, Margaret Sipkes works with Anna the social worker and year advisors and the school counsellor, and with small groups of children who need help.

“We’re going to make the people who sign the petition into champions, and we will upskill the teachers and students who want to learn how to be a positive bystander, and stop bullying in a safe way for everybody,” she said.

Hunter Palmer-Bain signed the petition because he’s against the way bullies seek to control people.

“If you’re being bullied, you should go and try to end it by telling someone, before it gets worth,” he said.

Tiarrah Thurtell, who also signed, said bullying has lasting effects.

“It hurts people, makes them feel unsafe coming to school.  It isn’t right.  Everyone should feel the same as others,” she said.

Deputy principal, Nicole Gough said bullying can sometimes lead to students becoming completely disengaged from school.

“We hope to make some changes and if we can stop getting to the point where they disengage, that would be great,” she said.