The Prime Minister’s invitation to principals to tackle bullying is welcome on this National Day of Action against Violence and Bullying.
“Bullying and violence has no place in Australia,” Mr Turnbull said when announcing extra funding to schools to tackle the problem. His interest is welcome.
It may be an inconvenient truth, but bullying is not only found in schools; it is commonplace in the institutions of our everyday life, from workplaces to our roads, even to our parliaments.
Children are moulded as much by what they learn in school as through observation of others. All adults – parents, teachers, bosses, politicians – have a responsibility to set an example to our young people. Those in public life who belittle and insult each other, their behaviour channelled onto your screens, have an obligation to help stamp out this menace by addressing their own conduct.
Sadly, few bullies recognise that they bully.
Good schools recognise the extent of the problem, and our historical shortcomings controlling it. I’ve been teaching for 36 years, the last 20 as principal, and my lived experience is that schools are better now at addressing bullying; we know more, value the voice of the student more, listen to parents more. We are more accountable.
Hopefully long gone is the time when students like me suffered school days filled with anxiety and fear, punctuated by frequent bouts of physical and verbal abuse.
– Michael Lee