Bullying policies are covered in the Department of Education and Training policy called Student Engagement and Wellbeing.  Our policy is on our website for easy parent access. Bullying is an issue that concerns parents and at our last Education and Planning meeting this came up with councillors wondering how to support parents in this area.  One of our experienced councillors, Blair Odom, penned a piece for another councillor, which made some very important points.  With his permission I have included this to help reassure parents.

Bullying is a tough issue. I think the first point to consider is this: Is the concerning behaviour actual bullying or just standard kids’ playground misbehaviour? In my 21 years’ experience as a teacher, I have not seen many instances of actual bullying. I have, however, seen many upset parents worried that their kids are being bullied. Often parents get very emotional when it comes to their children (I know I do!) and are very quick to bring out “bullying” in instances that do not actually qualify. 

 Bullying is when a child targets another student for repeated and intentional abuse in order to intimidate or maintain a sense of power or control over them. This can take a variety of forms–physical, mental, emotional, etc. Schools all now have Anti-Bullying and Anti-Harassment Policies which outline how they handle these situations. FTGN is no different.

 Essentially, we as Council, review school policies, adjust them if necessary and approve them. This policy is dated 2015 and it is up for review in 2018.

 It is important for our parent community to understand that the implementation of the policies on a day-to-day basis is the job of the Staff. After reading the school’s policy regarding this sensitive topic, parents should take any concerns they may still have regarding student behaviour to their child’s classroom teacher first and then on to Sue, if they feel a further discussion is still warranted.

As Blair points out it is important for a parent to talk to their classroom teacher so the teacher can get an overview of what is going on and address any issues at school.  Although it is tempting to become very involved these issues happen at school and need to be addressed at school, and the home-school partnership is vital to healthy relationships.

At a school level, the ‘Play is the Way’ program is an on-going, proactive approach to helping our students understand how to make respectful, bully free relationships. Our students are also taught how to seek help when required. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact me.