Safety at School


While the people doing the bullying need to be firmly and clearly assisted to change their behaviours, those who have been bullied also need be re-empowered so they are equipped for the future.

Some people who have been bullied believe the negative messages about them and feel ashamed.

It is important to help de-person- alise the bullying. Often we discuss bullying as a primitive, nasty be- haviour used to assert dominance at someone else’s expense. Many people bully others because they feel bad about themselves. For this reason we explain bullying to people who have experienced it as ‘nasty monkey’ behaviour.

Immature primates engage in dominating behaviours. When unsupervised and in conditions where there is an opportunity to in ate individual social position, many will be tempted to exploit the vulnerability of others.

This helps people who have been bullied to see that the bullying is not their fault.

This is followed with training in deflection techniques so students are not overly reactive or sensitive to future taunts or negative comments. Students are then helped to refocus on strengthening other social connections and interests.

The other part of dealing with bullying is to create a school culture, which makes bullying uncool and empowers others who witnesses to bullying and to make a stand.

How parents can support

  • Take the bullying incident seriously and also know that your child’s school will.
  • Let the school take responsibility for helping students who are bully- ing to change their ways.
  • Take your child’s distress seriously but also convey a message that ‘we are going to x this’.
  • Help them to de-personalise the message given to them by bullies by saying things like;
  • “That is not true—they are just being mean.” or “Just because they say that doesn’t mean it’s true— there are lots of people who know how wonderful you are.”

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