At Gippsland Grammar we aim to create a safe and supportive school community for everyone. The importance of kindness and respect can never be overstated. Our Building Respectful Relationships policy states clearly that we seek to be a place where:
- Students feel safe and supported by teachers
- Students learn in a calm and focused environment
- There are clear and consistent behavioural and learning expectations, made explicit to all students
- Behaviours and relationships are managed in a restorative way
- Relationships are respectful and characterised by positive dialogue and active listening
The importance of this approach was brought home so succinctly with the Courage to Care visit to our School last week. The critical role of bystanders and upstanders was an important message in this presentation. As we acknowledge National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, I want to assure our School community that we are working hard at Gippsland Grammar to address bullying where we see it and to encourage and support our students to engage in positive and respectful behaviours. Our Prefects highlighted our commitment to this action at lunchtime on Friday with Music, distribution of cards with important “Bullying No Way” tips and the use of symbols to highlight our collective commitment to this endeavour.
Parents are an important part of our work to prevent bullying and to respond effectively if it happens. Stopping bullying involves everyone. Parents know their children best and know the best way to tailor communication to their needs. The following advice comes from the www.bullyingnoway.gov.au organisation.
If your child talks to you about bullying:
- Listen calmly and get the full story. Your calm response is important to allow your child to tell you all about the situation. After they’ve told you their story, ask questions to get more details if you need: who, what, where, when. Although you may feel some strong emotions about your child’s experience, try to keep calm to avoid more distress to your child.
- Reassure your child they are not to blame. Many children blame themselves and this may make them feel even worse. You could say things like, ‘That sounds really hard to deal with. No one should have to put up with that.’ or ‘I’m so glad you told me. You should be able to feel safe at school; that’s not fair at all’.
- Ask your child what they want to do and what they want you to do. A critical part of your response is to avoid jumping in to solve the problem. While it is natural to want to protect your child, helping them to find their own solution is a better option. It helps them feel they have some power in the situation.
- Visit www.bullyingnoway.gov.au to find some strategies. The website has tips and ideas for different bullying situations. One idea is to practise strategies at home to help your child feel more confident.
- Contact the school. Your child may be reluctant for you to do this, so discuss the idea and reassure them that the school would want to know and is able to help. Make an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher and, if you need to, ask to talk with the principal. Contact the school immediately if you have a concern about your child’s safety.
- Check in regularly with your child. Keep the conversation going. It can take time to resolve issues, so check in regularly with your child about their experiences and their feelings. Your ongoing support is important.
Please contact us at School if you have concerns about bullying and you are looking for support for to deal with a bullying situation or to discuss this issue. Thanks for your support to make Gippsland Grammar a great school for everyone.