National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence

Mr Andrew Hawkins – Deputy Headmaster, Head of Senior School

This Friday is the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence in Australia.

Our focus in 2019 has very much been around the safety of our boys online and the harm caused by inappropriate use of the internet. This Friday gives the entire TSS community a chance to reflect on the wider issues around bullying and violence in schools, in the workplace or in our local community. This can be emotional or physical harm, either online or in person.

Bullying and violence is at the forefront of student wellbeing at TSS and the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence presents a great opportunity for all areas of the School to collaborate in support of our boys and staff.

I would like to use this opportunity to clarify our statement of ‘Zero Tolerance’ on Bullying. We do take bullying seriously and we will not tolerate that behaviour. What we all have to remember in these situations however is that schools are one of the very environments where young people can make mistakes and learn from them. Once these students are adults and leave the school environment, bullying is dealt with by employers, human resources, and sometimes the Police. Our role in schools is to educate and change behaviours. If the bullying continues after consequences are applied and restorative sessions have occurred, and we do not see a change in behaviour, then the consequences escalate rapidly. What is important in schools is that we give students a chance to change their behaviours to become better people.

We swapped Period 4 on Tuesday and Thursday this week and our Assembly followed the theme of Bullying and Violence. We heard from a number of our boys and their initiatives in this space on Tuesday. Some members of staff and various students read small excerpts of emails received by students who have been bullied in the past or parents whose son has been a victim of bullying. This was a very powerful exercise.

It would be remiss of me not to wish our rowers all the best for the Head of the River on Saturday. To the Coaches and Staff that have assisted the boys and our tireless TSS Rowing Parents on behalf of the school, we say thank-you.

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