Bullying-Free Week 2017 — work together to find solutions in your school

Bullying-Free Week is from 22 to 26 May. This year’s theme is 'NZ students with solutions — working together to end bullying'.

What your school can do...

Think about how your school can embrace this week and focus on changing behaviours for everyone's benefit. Unfortunately, bullying of some sort occurs in every school in New Zealand. Bullying-Free Week is a great catalyst to actively involve students in thinking about bullying and how to address it effectively in your school. Involve students and school staff in discussions about bullying. Engage them to help identify preventative behaviours and find solutions to bullying that suit your school context.

Graffiti-style collage, reading 'You are beautiful' You are beautiful, CC0 1.0

First of all — what is bullying?

It's important to clearly define bullying so that everyone — students, staff, whanau, and the wider school community — can identify it and address it when it happens.

According to broadly accepted definitions, bullying:

  • is deliberate and intentional
  • involves an actual or perceived power imbalance
  • is repeated over time — by one person, or many
  • is harmful physically or psychologically, short-term or long-term
  • can be verbal, physical, emotional, or online (known as cyberbullying).

Next steps — develop an action plan

It's worthwhile to then think about an action plan to address these various forms of bullying.

There are a range of resources available for you to use throughout Bullying-Free Week, and beyond:

  • Bullying-Free NZ — a range of information and advice specifically for schools
  • Bullying-free NZ Week Activity Pack 2017 — full of information and practical activities you can run throughout the week to engage students in thinking and action to address bullying
  • Be the Change — advice and resources about preventative approaches to bullying.

Online bullying — cyberbullying

With many children and young people spending more time engaged with digital technologies, cyberbullying is a reality for an increasing number of them.

Explore these websites to understand cyberbullying better and access information for school, parents and young people:

Look at digital citizenship

Looking at cyberbullying during Bullying-Free Week can encourage your school to focus its approach to digital citizenship. The skills, the behaviours and, in particular, the values of digital citizenship are great preventers of cyberbullying.

Involving students in the development of a digital citizenship programme at your school empowers them. Encourage them to work together to build positive digital capabilities and address negative behaviours, such as cyberbullying.

Developing digital citizenship­­ has more information about the key aspects of digital citizenship and how to develop it in your school.

Wrap up with Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day is on Friday 26 May, which can be a powerful way to wrap up Bullying-Free Week in a highly visible manner through events such as a mufti-day and/or getting your staff to dress in pink!

Pink Shirt Day has some great information and ‘swag’ (posters and banners). You can also register your school as a participant.

Keep up the momentum

Whilst Bullying-Free Week draws a focus on this issue, it is only through ongoing attention and positive action that the idea of 'NZ students with solutions — working together to end bullying' will achieve its best outcomes.

By Samuel Beyer

Samuel is the Senior Specialist (Online Learning) for Services to Schools.

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