Friday , November 15 2019

Primary school students honoured for anti-bullying stance

41 Australian primary school finalists from 4000 entrants honoured at Government House ceremony.

Finalists in the Interrelate 2019 Say No To Bullying Poster Competition attended a ceremony with Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of New South Wales to announce the winners and share the anti-bullying message that this competition introduces to participating schools.

The competition, now in its sixth year, received 45,000 registrations from primary school aged children from around the country. The winner of this year’s competition was Isabella Sinanovski from Lennox Head Public School. The eleven-year-old created a colourful poster that depicts being kind when others are faced with bullying behaviour, tapping into this year’s theme of Be Kind, Lend a Hand.

“Bullying and cyber-bullying is a national concern. It can affect confidence, create social anxiety and low self-esteem, and can roll into adulthood. Having a whole of community approach to developing respectful and supportive relationships; and being an upstander rather than a bystander is the best way to help our children develop for the future. Our poster competition helps children express themselves through art, which can get then to start talking and open the door for further conversations,” says Patricia Occelli, CEO of Interrelate.

“We work closely with many schools through our Bullying Awareness Program and the poster competition to help them start the conversation around difficult subjects like this at an early age. By opening up the discussion sooner rather than later in a way that is supportive rather than judgemental, and involving the whole community, including parents, children have a much better chance of understanding each other’s differences rather than highlighting them,” says Ms Occelli

Isabella, who made the trip to Sydney especially for this event, was shocked and delighted to be the overall winner.

“It was amazing to walk in and see all the other posters. I never expected that I could be picked as first place.”

Isabella, who has experienced bullying herself, had a very positive message for people.

“We’re all unique and we should celebrate our differences to learn from each other, and not be nasty if someone is different.”

“If you’re being bullied, there will always be someone there to help you, whether it’s your parents, your teachers or even new friends you didn’t know would support you.”

NSW Education Minister, Hon Sarah Mitchell, announced at the ceremony that the Berejiklian Government will be supporting two mental health experts at every public high school to help students struggling with stress and bullying in an $88 million package, which will fund 350 student support officers and up to 100 additional full-time counsellors or qualified psychologists.

Relevant statistics

  • 1 in 4 Australians in Years 4-9 report being bullied every few weeks or more, with the figures highest among students in Year 51
  • Kids who are bullied are more likely to show symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders, to have self-harmed or attempted suicide2 
  • Girls are more likely than boys to be the victims of both cyberbullying and traditional bullying3
  • Young people who bully are significantly more likely to later engage in criminal behaviour. Bullying peers at school increases by more than half the risk of later becoming an offender.[1]

 

 

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