Next Monday marks the start of Bullying-Free NZ week and the relaunch of their website featuring new online resources for schools and whānau.
The annual event runs May 22-26, and is a great opportunity for schools and their communities to raise awareness about bullying.
This year's theme is ‘NZ students with solutions - working together to end bullying', which encourages student voices to speak up and discuss experiences and ideas.
Having just undergone a site refresh, BullyingFree.nz is ready to make it easier for caregivers and teachers to get around the site, and connect with useful e-resources.
The site focuses on providing resource packs to help any children dealing with bullying issues. As well as resources for professional development workshops that go through how to respond to, or prevent, bullying step-by-step.
During the awareness week, schools are encouraged to run classroom activities, and open discussions with students, about bullying. It is also suggested to review anti-bullying policies in individual schools.
Secretary for education Iona Holsted says it's time for New Zealanders to speak up and stand together against bullying.
“All students need to feel safe and secure at school. School leaders, teachers, students and whānau need to work together to ensure that this is the case.
“Unfortunately, bullying is a serious issue all schools will face at one time or another, which has a significant impact on students' wellbeing and learning. These new resources will help the whole school community - leaders, teachers, students, parents and whānau - to share a common understanding and commitment to tackling bullying behaviour.”
It will be a collaborative effort between teachers and caregivers that will help snuff out bullying in schools, says NZ Police prevention manager Inspector Paula Holt.
“It's important schools work with parents and the wider school community to get the message out that bullying is never OK.
“Bullying doesn't stop at the school gate. Adults have a role in modelling the behaviour they want to see at school and home, and effective prevention needs the support of the whole school community working together to build an environment where everyone feels safe.
Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker says it's important to remember the different forms bullying can take, and to be especially aware of digital bullies.
“Often if the bullying is happening offline, it's happening online too. One of the difficulties with online bullying is that children can feel like there's ‘no escape' because it doesn't stop when they leave the school grounds.
“It's important that parents and carers teach kids how to stay safe and where to get help if they need it, as well as how to behave positively toward each other online and offline.
Bullying-Free NZ week is an important opportunity to discuss something that affects so many of our students, let them know they aren't alone, and let bullies know that it's not okay.
Take the chance to take some of the ready-to-use e-resources featured on BullyingFree.nz and start talking with classes about the issue.
For school leadership and principals, this is also a great opportunity to upskill teachers on how to deal with bullying, both online and in the schoolyard.
Bullying-Free NZ week will culminate in Pink Shirt Day, where the world will don pink and take a stand against bullying in all its forms. So be sure to get something pink, or throw a red shirt in with your whites if you run out of time.