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New online resources for schools in Bullying-Free NZ Week

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New online resources to support schools, parents and their communities to tackle bullying have just been launched at www.BullyingFree.NZ as schools around the country gear up for Bullying-Free NZ Week, 22-26 May.

The resources include a new parent pack with information and tips for parents, carers and whānau on how to deal with and talk to children about bullying issues, and resources for professional development workshops that step through what bullying is, responding to bullying behaviour, and bullying-prevention.

The Bullying-Free NZ website has also been refreshed, making it easier to navigate, and with new information especially for students and parents on where to get help and tips for dealing with bullying issues.

Bullying-Free NZ Week is an annual event and an opportunity for schools and their communities to raise awareness and promote a safe and inclusive learning environment. The week ends with Pink Shirt Day, 26 May, when New Zealanders speak up, stand together to stop bullying and celebrate diversity in schools, workplaces and communities.

During the week schools can run classroom activities, get students talking about bullying, and review their anti-bulling policy. This year’s theme is ‘NZ students with solutions - working together to end bullying’, acknowledging the importance of listening to students’ voices and experiences, and the need for everyone - boards of trustees, school staff, students, whānau and communities - to work together to prevent bullying behaviour.

Bullying-Free NZ Week is an initiative of the Bullying Prevention Advisory Group, a collaboration of 18 organisations committed to reducing bullying in NZ schools, including representatives from across the education, social, justice and health sectors, as well as Netsafe and human rights advocacy groups.

Secretary for Education Iona Holsted said: "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."

NZ Police Prevention Manager: Community Focus, Inspector Paula Holt said "it’s important schools work with parents and the wider school community to get the message out that bullying is never OK.

"Police are committed to working with parents and communities, in particular schools, to help reduce bullying. 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 Chief Executive Officer, Martin Cocker says that increasingly bullying amongst students doesn’t just happen at school. "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."

Lorraine Kerr (MNZM), President, New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) says that Bullying-Free NZ Week is a chance to bring the whole school together to talk about the issue. "Real change happens when everyone shares responsibility for making sure schools are safe and inclusive. Trustees have an important role in making sure their school takes steps to involve staff, students, parents and carers in developing robust processes that build a culture of inclusion and respect."

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