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In this week’s Calling article, I build upon the topic of Bullying covered last week with a discussion around two very important tools in the fight against bullying, ‘The Anti-Bullying Portal’ and our parents.

To begin our fight against bullying, I ask that you please ask your son to come and sit with you as you go over this article. Please ask your son to do two things with you;

  • Explain what option he has if he is being bullied.
  • Access the ‘Anti-Bullying Portal’.

The Anti–Bullying Portal

St. Patrick’s College would like to take this opportunity to remind our established families, and to explain for the first time to our new families the online reporting site, which can be accessed via Student Connect. If you or your son would like to report a bullying issue one method available is for him to follow the instructions below and complete the Anti-Bullying Portal form. This site allows students and parents to report bullying in a confidential environment directly to the Dean of Students. The Anti-Bullying Portal is a very effective tool particularly in regards to reporting cyber bullying, as you can easily copy and paste online conversations.

  • Go to the SPC Connect
  • Click to the Student Portal
  • Click on the “Anti-Bullying Portal”
  • Report the bullying incident including names
  • Press Send

Advice to Parents

Bullying can take many forms: physical, emotional, verbal or a combination of these. If you learn your child is being bullied, you may immediately want to protect him and confront the aggressor. You may feel embarrassed and want your child to toughen up, to get in there and fight back. You may simply feel helpless. However, none of these responses will be helpful to your son or the situation. Please sit down with your son and calmly gather as much information as possible. It is essential that he feels believed and listened to. It is important to find out information such as what happened, who was involved, where and when the incident occurred and if anybody else witnessed it. Avoid laying blame and contact the College so that we can gather the facts. Please remember that the best outcomes in regards to issues of bullying are achieved only when the College and parents work in partnership. You have our personal assurance that all concerns will be followed up promptly and fairly. Keep in mind that the goal in these situations is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students, not to escalate an already difficult situation.

No parent wants to hear his or her child is behaving like a bully. Of course your first response will probably be defensive. However, please remember that this discussion is ultimately about the well-being of your child, regardless of how it is being framed. Your discussion with your son should focus on several key points:

  • Bullying is not acceptable in our family or in society.
  • Ask students how they can help themselves. Consider whom they could go to at school if they see themselves getting into this situation again?
  • Specify clearly the consequences if the aggression or bullying continues.

As I stated last week ‘You will never walk alone’ is a program which encourages those young men who are not bullies or targets to play a powerful role in reshaping the inappropriate behaviours of others. Please teach your son to speak up on behalf of children being bullied. Bullying is significantly reduced if bystanders are prepared to make a stand and discourage it. We are all responsible for the safety of each individual student within our community: staff, parents and students.

I appreciate your support with this issue.

Thank you.

Mr Darren Kearney - Dean of Students