Stop Pretending and Start Acting!

Parents looking for a school for their kids must hate reading the same line that tends to pop up in all the school’s brochures.  It’s the line that Principal’s claim they pride themselves on.  I bet if I asked you to guess what the line is, you’d come close.

“We provide a warm, safe and secure environment for our students.”

Heard it before?  Have you ever been convinced that it’s true?

A recent poll of parents of Primary school aged kids were asked about their greatest concerns regarding sending their kids to school.

The results were not surprising:

Bullying is the biggest worry parents have when they send their children back to school.

Three quarters of parents fear their child will be bullied – at school and online – a survey has found.

In a sign of their concern, 89 per cent plan to monitor their children’s online activities closely.

Australian parents are also concerned about the costs associated with sending a child back to school, with one in three nominating money as an issue.

A national poll of 1000 parents of primary school age children found almost half believed a passionate and caring teacher, and a fun learning environment, were critical to their child’s success at school.

Curbing bullying is not just a priority – it is the number one priority.  Yes, more important than academic performance.  And why shouldn’t it be the case?  Parents who invest everything they have towards their child’s health and happiness deserve the right to feel confident the school will do its utmost to provide a safe environment for their child.

Don’t just say you are.  Prove it.  Because parents obviously don’t buy it.

And speaking of parents, I couldn’t disagree with this quote from Parenting Victoria’s Elaine Crowle more strongly:

“The best way to prevent bullying is for parents and schools to work together to build resilience within your child.”

No, the best way to prevent bullying is not simply to fortify the victim – it is to stop the perpetrator.  Resilience often means not reacting when being bullied and instead soaking it up.  That is not a remedy against bullying.  Schools must invest a great deal more into curbing bullying than resiliency programs.

It’s time schools were stripped of their right to boast about their so-called safe and secure environment until they adequately prove that this is actually the case.

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2 Responses to “Stop Pretending and Start Acting!”

  1. Matt Says:

    Great post Michael. My biggest frustration with anti-bullying techniques is the focus on making the victim less target-worthy. So the message is, “you must change to fit into our warm, caring school”.

    My focus is on activating bystanders. Without bystanders, a bully has no option but to stop.

    Thanks for posting on the HCC blog – appreciated.

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