In an attempt to address bullying in schools, ClubsNSW are piloting Bully Check. This program involves those who apply for jobs with ClubsNSW in the Murray region, being investigated as to whether or not they were bullies at school. If they were, then ClubsNSW will not employ them.
On the surface at least, this seems like a large employer trying to do its part for kids in the community – their thinking is if bullies believe their actions will impact upon their long term employment prospects, the bullying behaviours will cease.
The Daily Telegraph suggests that this program has the backing of the O’Farrell government, but in the same article it claims that’s NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli does not endorse the program. Whilst meaning well, Bully Check appears to be too simplistic a model to have any real impact on bullying in schools.
However, the Daily Telegraph also reported on a program that does appear to be having some success. Funding has been given over to establish Student Support Officers (SSOs) whose primary role is to focus on social issues – such as bullying – that may otherwise come across the desk of an overworked school counselor or teacher. By having SSOs who are dedicated to focusing on these issues, the report claims one school in particular has managed to “stamp out” bullying.
Currently there are thirty SSOs in NSW who are sent to schools where counselors trying to deal with bullying have reached “breaking point.”
There are twenty due to enter the fray soon.
However, bullying is all too prevalent, not only in schools, but in workplaces, governments and society in general, and kids in schools – more often than not – mirror the behaviours they see in the wider world.
Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler