“Strong people stand-up for themselves, but the strongest stand up for others.” This is what standing up to bullying means to the students of Miami State High School.
It is impossible not be inspired by the “Miami Movement” where Principal Sue Dalton says that “students are invested in making a positive change in school culture supported by strong teacher / student relationships coupled with a safe and inclusive environment”. However, we shouldn’t just leave this challenge to our schools, the wider Gold Coast community need to stand with them to clearly get the message across that bullying and violence in any setting is never okay.
Sadly our practice has experienced a significant increase in the number of extreme cases of bullying in the past few years, where children are suicidal as result of being bullied. The psychological impact on children and their families can last a lifetime, often detrimentally shaping the future of these vulnerable young people so we welcome the initiative of the Queensland state government to launch a public awareness campaign informing parents and children of anti-bullying initiatives underway across the State with activities to coincide with today’s National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.
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Bullying is a confronting situation for any parent faced with supporting their child if they are the victim or knowing how to respond and help your child if they are accused of bullying.
If your child is being bullied (or you suspect they’re being bullied), notify the school as soon as possible. Always follow up verbal communication with an email or letter. Keep a copy so you have a record of when you reported the bullying and what was said. Try to provide the school with as much information about the alleged bullying as possible. This gives them the best chance of fixing the problem. While the school is investigating, try to limit your child’s exposure to the bullying. For example, pick them up from school if they’re being physically or verbally abused on their way home. If the bullying is severe, and particularly if your child’s safety is in danger, consider contacting the police.
If your child has been accused of bullying (or you suspect they’re engaging in bullying behaviour), speak with your child and their school about the allegation. Explore ways of managing your child’s behaviour to minimise the possibility of them bullying other kids. For example, limit their access to social media if you suspect that they’re posting negative things about classmates. You may need to consider seeking specialist advice from a behavioural or mental health professional.
For further information about the day and great resources: bullyingnoway.gov.au