Friday 23 June 2017

Schools busy working to build a bullying-free environment

Another successful Bullying-Free NZ Week has come to a close.
Hundreds of schools took part up and down the country – students worked hard at a variety of bullying-themed activities and many schools took the opportunity to look at their policies.
Photo:  For students at Rathkeale and St Matthew’s Senior College, biology experiments took on a distinctive hue for Pink Shirt Day.
Some took the whole week to talk about bullying, teaching a different aspect each day to build on students’ understanding of what bullying is and how to play an active role in preventing bullying at their school.
At Carterton School in Wairarapa, there was a focus on the role of the bystander and empowering students to act when they saw bullying happening. The school’s Team Kōwhai work group produced an anti-bullying video with their teacher, which was viewed widely on social media (, and many other schools made videos portraying the impact of bullying on the target, giving students the chance to explore and understand how it feels.
“The children across the school were helped to learn how to stand up against bullying because of the video Team Kōwhai made,” says principal Alison Woollard.
Other schools marked the week with random acts of kindness, sharing positive comments on post-it notes, special school assemblies, and open mic sessions.
Pink Shirt Day rounded off the week. Many celebrated with mufti days, pink cupcake sales and sausage sizzles to show their support.
This year a record 494 New Zealand schools took part in Pink Shirt Day, and on 26 May #pinkshirtday was the second highest trending Twitter hashtag after #Budget2017, with a whole range of companies, organisations and individuals joining schools in showing their support for a bullying-free New Zealand.
Bullying prevention is a year-long job. The Bullying-Free NZ website, the central hub for information on bullying prevention and response, is now easier to navigate with two great new resources.
New parent pack
Parents, carers and whānau have a vital role to play. A new free parent’s pack with information and tips for parents on how to deal with and talk to their child about bullying issues is now available. It can be used by schools as a companion guide when communicating their school policy to parents, and to help support discussions with parents, carers and whānau about specific incidents of bullying behaviour.
Free professional development workshop resources
For effective bullying prevention, it’s essential that school leaders, teachers and staff share a common understanding and commitment to tackling bullying behaviour. Free resources for schools to run professional development workshops are now available. Including trainer’s notes and handouts, the workshops step through what bullying is, responding to bullying behaviour, and bullying prevention.
For more information visit

Thames High School, Coromandel, spelling the message loud and clear.