I want to talk about two problems that are affecting our society and our schools: violence and online bullying. It is our collective responsibility to tackle these issues and create a nurturing and inclusive community for everyone, particularly in our school.
Let’s talk about violence. Whether it’s physical, verbal, or emotional, violence leaves a lasting impact on individuals and communities. At school we must recognize that violence is not just limited to acts of aggression; it can manifest in various forms, such as bullying and discrimination. The consequences of violence are far-reaching, affecting both the victim, the perpetrator and their whaanau.
To tackle violence in our school we all have to stand up against it. It is not acceptable to stand by and watch, or even worse, take videos of fights as if these are acceptable to watch. What has happened to us that instead of breaking up a fight we think it is entertainment? To date so far this year, we have suspended 11 students to the Board of Trustees for fighting. The Board then decides if that student has the right to be at our school. That is what the Board is doing about violence – what are you doing? We must start to tackle this problem by fostering empathy and understanding within our school community. By cultivating a culture of respect and compassion, we can reduce the likelihood of conflicts escalating into violent acts.
Often, violence stems from frustration, anger, or a lack of support. As members of this school, we need to extend a helping hand to those who are struggling. Small acts of kindness can go a long way in preventing violence and fostering a sense of belonging. Don’t be a witness to a fight, be the person who stands up against it. As the senior students of this school you can play a huge part in shaping our culture.
Many bullies hide behind social media. With the rise of technology our interactions have extended beyond the physical world. While this digital realm brings us closer together, it also exposes us to the dark side of human behaviour. Online bullying has become an epidemic, causing immense harm to individuals, and to individuals in this school.
We have had police talk to our year levels about online bullying, we know the impact of online bullying and yet still students feel it is okay to start Instagram pages whose purpose is to bring down students. Remember that behind every screen, there is a real person with real feelings. We must think before we type, considering the potential impact of our words on others.
How can you help? Let’s create a supportive online environment by reporting and standing up against cyberbullying. If you witness someone being targeted online, don’t be a bystander. Speak out against such behaviour, report it to your parents who can report it to Netsafe, and support the victim. Together, we can create a safer and more inclusive online space.
Caring for our school community requires collective action. It starts with each one of us taking responsibility for our words and actions. Let’s build a community that values empathy, kindness, and respect. Let’s support one another and stand against violence in all its forms. By doing so, we can create a nurturing environment where everyone feels safe and accepted.