Casebrook 'Upstanding' to Bullying

By Nick Leith | Posted: Thursday May 17, 2018

This week is Bully-Free New Zealand week. Casebrook has been focusing on this as part of our REP lessons for the last two weeks.

Tomorrow students are invited to wear pink to school instead of their uniforms as part of a NZ-wide awareness day around bullying in our communities, schools and workplaces. 

Bullying is a flash-point for discussion and is often in the media. We all bring our own experiences and values 'to the table' when it is discussed and dealt with.

At Casebrook we have been teaching students to be 'UPSTANDERS' to bullying. That means not letting something continue without doing your part to intervene in a way appropriate to the situation. That might mean telling a parent, friend or teacher about something or someone, being assertive or seeking help. 

We have used the Bully-Free NZ Week resource attached in this article. There is some great stuff in there to talk about at home too and I encourage you to flick through it and have a discussion at home about the content and the message.

It is really important that students are aware of the types of bullying and this is taught directly at our school:

Bullying is deliberate – one person intentionally causing physical and / or psychological harm to another.

Bullying involves a power imbalance – an actual (or perceived) unequal relationship (eg physical size, age, gender, social status or digital capability and access.

Bullying is usually not a one-off - it is repeated over time, with the threat of further incidents leading to fear and anxiety. People may bully one person many times, or different people each time.

Bullying is harmful – there is short or long-term physical or psychological harm to the target (eg, as a result of coercion or intimidation).

In line with the Ministry Of Education guidelines about 'Bullying Prevention and Response' Casebrook has established a bullying policy that exists alongside our Positive Behaviour for Learning Framework that drives our positive school culture. 

This will be available on our school website shortly. 

The key aspect to this policy is the definition of what bullying is at Casebrook and how we would deal with it when it occurs:

Bullying (Casebrook Bullying Policy, 2017)

Bullying is a form of harassment, and usually refers to intimidatory behaviour between school students, but may involve staff. If the bullying involves staff and students, the Harassment procedure is followed.

Bullying is deliberate, harmful behaviour that is often repeated, or continues over a period of time. It often involves a power imbalance and it is difficult for those being bullied to defend themselves. Bullying takes place in the digital world too, through cyberbullying.

All members of the school, including students themselves, have a responsibility to recognise bullying and to take action when they are aware of it happening. Bullying behaviour can be overt (directly and easily observed) or covert (indirect and hidden or less easily observed). A great deal of bullying is covert with bullying behaviour rarely occurring in front of adults. If students are being bullied, they need to feel supported and know what to do.

Examples of bullying behaviours include:

  • physical, for example, hitting, kicking, taking belongings, defacing a web page
  • verbal, for example, name calling; insults; racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic remarks
  • social/relational, for example, spreading nasty stories, excluding from groups, making threats, standover tactics
  • cyberbullying, for example, posting negative comments on social media, publishing or sending inappropriate messages or images, sending mean or intimidating texts and emails.

To effectively prevent and respond to bullying behaviour at Casebrook Intermediate School we:

  • create a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment that encourages an upstanding approach.
  • promote digital citizenship to our students
  • provide guidelines for managing and dealing with bullying behaviour
  • identify and acknowledge bullying/intimidating behaviour and do not tolerate it. This includes cyberbullying, and transgender bullying.
  • deal with incidents of bullying through the school's behaviour plan (attached).

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