Waverley College is committed to providing all staff and students with an inclusive community that values diversity and respects difference. Each person is to be treated with courtesy and respect in a fair and just manner. All members of the College have a responsibility to ensure a safe and supportive environment, which fosters growth, self-esteem and positive interpersonal relationships. This means that bullying, discrimination and harassment in any form damage relationships in our College and are therefore completely unacceptable.
Once actions or words have been identified as harmful, and there are repeat occurrences, then bullying is occurring. Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, home, work, transit or via digital technologies such as social media, text message or email. Bullying may be student to student, staff to student, student to staff or outside groups.
Bullying is not the same as conflict. While disliking someone or a one-off isolated incident of teasing or aggression may not constitute bullying, these behaviours harm relationships between our community members and are also seen as unacceptable behaviours. Bullying can have a negative impact on everyone — it is not just a problem for those who are bullied. People who bully others need help to change. All members of our community have a responsibility to help minimise the frequency and severity of bullying.
Those who see others being bullied can help by informing a parent or staff member, by offering the victim support or assistance or by simply walking away and showing the bully that others do not support their actions.
Effects of Bullying
A person who experiences deliberate, persistent threats or actions from an individual or a group can become lonely, isolated and depressed. Their schoolwork and health can suffer serious consequences and they can experience a loss of confidence and self-esteem.
Bullies who are allowed to go unchallenged in their anti-social way of relating to others are also at risk because cowardice, cruelty and selfishness are allowed to flourish in them. This can lead to much future unhappiness, and anti-social, even criminal behaviour. Both the bully and the person being bullied need help.
Students, staff and parents at Waverley College seek to create an environment that totally rejects all forms of bullying behaviour. The following procedures will help bring this about:
If a student is being bullied he should…
Try some strategies
These strategies should only be tried if there is no immediate threat or danger of physical injury.
- Ignore the bullying — turn and walk away
- Say ‘No’ or ‘Stop it’ firmly. The tone of your response should be assertive, rather than aggressive or submissive.
- Take a copy of offensive words, messages or images exchanged via digital technologies.
- It may also be useful to note any witnesses to the incident.
Talk to someone
Bullying is not ok, ever! It is really important to tell someone, particularly if the bullying has been going on for a while or the strategies tried previously haven’t worked. Telling someone shares the problem and it helps the victim feel supported. Sharing your concerns can be a very empowering action that leads to positive changes.
- Talk to friends — they can help by telling a teacher or parent or just by helping the victim to feel better by knowing they don’t have to deal with the situation alone.
- Talk to parents — tell them the ‘who, what, when and where’ of what’s been happening.
- Talk to a teacher, coach, priest or other trusted adult. This can be done discreetly by email or over the phone if the victim does not feel comfortable coming forward in person.
- Talk to someone at one of the helplines listed under “Assistance” above.
How the College can help
Any report of bullying will be treated seriously and followed up promptly. The College has a responsibility to investigate and take appropriate action regarding bullying and harassment. Action may include:
- The person being bullied is given some ideas on how to deal with the situation.
- The person being bullied is helped to confront the bully in a safe way that causes the bully to reflect on his actions and change his behaviour.
- Parents may be required to attend a meeting at the College.
- Consequences may be necessary when a bully refuses to change his way of relating to others.
- Bullying may constitute a criminal offence and the victim and their family may be within their rights to contact police or seek legal representation.
- In repeated or extreme cases the bully’s enrolment may be reviewed.
A responsibility for ALL students
The prevention and management of bullying, inappropriate use of technology and disrespectful behaviour is more readily achieved in a caring and supportive school culture that promotes positive relationships. Bullying, cyber-bullying, harassment, aggression and violence disregard core values of our faith including dignity, respect, justice, equity, compassion, trust and courage. Importantly, such actions can adversely affect the wellbeing of students and are therefore unacceptable.
All members of our school community are expected to prevent and challenge such actions in order to build respectful relationships that respond effectively and sensitively to the needs of each person. If bullying is to cease, all students have a responsibility to work for this.