Home » Grand Avenue State School takes stand against bullying

Grand Avenue State School takes stand against bullying

Corin Mackay    September 12, 2023    2 min read   

By Corin Mackay

Year six students with Poppy, the Grand Avenue State School therapy dog.
Year six students with Poppy, the Grand Avenue State School therapy dog.

Grand Avenue State School celebrated the first National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence during August, following this year’s theme of ‘growing connections’.

The National Day of Action (NDA) is a special opportunity for the 68% of participating Australian schools to build a shared understanding of bullying, outline prevention policies, and support students that may be experiencing bullying of any kind.

In previous years, the day was included with Harmony Day celebrations, but in 2023 the day was permanently moved to the third Friday in August.

Grand Avenue State School Counselling Officer Kylie Sweeting said that the school held a number of lessons and activities that covered both physical and cyber bullying, helping to build empathy and social skills.

“We had lessons where students made paper chains identifying people they’re connected with, and who they can go to if they feel bullied or see others being bullied,” she said.

“Teachers showed videos explaining the definition of bullying, and other classes looked at cyber bullying, where we spoke about types of behaviours and what actions can be taken.

“The entire school went down to the oval on Friday, so that those that were comfortable could link arms to create a connections circle, symbolising how we’re all connected and take care of one another, and our collective resistance against bullying.”

Kylie said while she hasn’t come across many cases of bullying at Grand Avenue or other schools, one of the biggest remaining issues is a lower level of empathy or social skills in some students.

“It’s about teaching kids how to interact, how to have empathy and appropriate social skills – modelling healthy friendships and healthy connections with others,” she said.

“What we miss is usually due to the students not reporting incidents, so it really helps to teach the kids to know who is safe and who can be connected with in the community, for parents and guardians to use incidental moments to help bring attention to it.”

A range of videos, organised by different age groups and demographics who may be targeted by bullying, as well as discussion starters, advice, lesson plans and posters are provided by the organisation hosting the NDA, ‘Bullying. No Way!’, through their website, at bullyingnoway.gov.au

Corin Mackay