'Don't let fear stop you': Students told to speak up
"BE STRONG” and "Do not let fear stand in your way” is the advice Burnett State College principal Theo Bellas gave students this National Day of Action against Bullying.
Students donned orange, heard advice from student council leaders and made pledge cards stating what they were going to do to stop bullying behind their school gates on Friday, March 15.
If there was one message students were to remember, council leaders and Mr Bellas agreed it should be to "seek help”.
"Bullying behaviour is very often an unseen, unheard activity and the victim often suffers in silence,” Mr Bellas said.
"The victim thinks if they say anything to anyone, the bullying will get worse.
"In fact it will get worse if they do not tell someone- the bully's behaviour goes on unchecked.”
In a national study, around one in four Year 4 to Year 9 Australian students reported being bullied every few weeks, or more often.
Mr Bellas said the first step is to tell the bully not to behave that way, but he strongly encourages every student to also tell someone if they are being bullied.
He said shining a light on bullying and being vocal empowers those with a small voice to speak up and report, or stand up to, the bully.
There are a number of adults a student can choose to turn to.
"...a teacher, home group teacher who they see every day, the school nurse, the guidance officer, the Heads of Department, the youth support worker, the office staff, the deputy principal and principal, mum and dad or other family member are all willing to help anyone in need of support,” he said.
"The student must tell a trusted adult and then action can be taken to stop the bullying behaviour and help the bully see that we do not seek to verbally or physically harm another person.”
Junior school leaders Courtney Bryant and Thomas Formica, spoke at parade about bullying and every student received a "No Bullying” wrist band.
"Together we can make bullying a thing of the past and communication and respect are the keys,” Mr Bellas said.