But the campaign launched by Channel 7’s Sunrise titled “Beat The Bullies” is a good intention that can lead us along a perilous path to the wrong destination.
Countering the scourge of bullying is not about beating anybody. It’s not about identifying, shaming and conquering a foe – especially foes that are children. It’s not a war to win or an opportunity to slay a dragon.
The work to be done, and this is research proven by the University of London when they examined 1378 schools already performing impressively when it comes to bullying, is in establishing a restorative ethos and culture around our schools. This is why so many of our Partner Schools have such a strong Restorative Practices theme to their Real Schools Partnerships.
That doesn’t require beating anybody. In fact, when we make an enemy of our children we teach them to distrust us and to drive their destructive and hurtful behaviours underground at the exact time that we wish to shine a light on them.
Instead of creating an enemy from nowhere in the hope that we can congratulate ourselves for vanquishing them, we should be getting to work immediately on School Cultures within which bullying finds it almost impossible to thrive.
We thank Sunrise for their intentions. They are indeed admirable. But unfortunately Kochie and Sam know not of what they speak. You do. And as the true education experts who work in and on the school system daily, we need you and your school to take the first steps on the correct path.