On 15th March 2019, students at Mount Pritchard Public School came together for a school-wide breakfast in recognition of the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, a national government initiative coordinated by the Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group.
They were one of hundreds of schools around the country that engaged students with the help of non-profit Interrelate’s Say No To Bullying poster competition, an art activity designed to help students embrace the more positive concepts of kindness and inclusion.
In its 6th year, Interrelate’s poster competition is supported by a special song written by Mrs Hurley, wife of Interrelate patron, David Hurley Governor of New South Wales. The song has set the theme for this year’s competition and has been recorded by Mrs Hurley and the children of Mount Pritchard.
“Who better to bring to life the problem of bullying than children,” says Mrs Hurley. “And to do it through artwork really sends a clear message to people who are going to see their artwork.”
In addition to the whole school performing Mrs Hurley’s song, the students joined together as a group to create their posters on how to #bekindlendahand.
Last year the competition received 48, 000 registrations that resulted in 33 regional finalists from around the country.
“I’ve been bullied a bit in the past,” says Trinity Sheridan, 2018 Say No To Bullying Poster competition winner. “So, I know how it feels. I used some of the words bullies say in my artwork and showed what it can do.”
“Early guidance and education in primary schools that involves the whole school community of children, teachers and parents can help the development of healthy and respectful relationships and reduce the occurrence of bullying, “says Patricia ocelli, CEO, Interrelate.
“Kids who are bullied are three times as likely to show depressive symptoms and through our Say No To Bullying Poster competition, we aim to engage with primary school-age children across Australia to embrace the concept of respect and, this year with the help of Mrs Hurley, kindness.”
“With doing the Say No To Bullying Poster Competition, it does raise that awareness and, on a special day like today it’s important to share that with the students that it’s not acceptable and it’s not okay,” says Sarah Sneddon, Relieving Assistant Principal, Mount Pritchard Public School.
“It gives us a platform for a discussion that can be facilitated through the posters and it allows the children to be a little bit creative with they way they want to show and express their ideas about bullying. It’s not always black and white and it can be represented in lots of different ways, so that different cultures and different communities can understand the importance of it, and why we should do something about it and say no to bullying.”
The poster competition will run from 15th March, which is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence until 31st March. Entries are due by 12th April. The finalists will be invited to attend an awards ceremony at NSW Government House in June.