Releasing the updated 2015 Bullying Prevention Guidelines on Pink Shirt Day at Silverstream School, Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Mr David Rutherford said he is confident that the drive to stop bullying across New Zealand schools is really gaining ground.
“Any kind of bullying in school is serious and has negative impacts on young people. Real change happens when students, staff, parents and whanau collaborate to make their school culture powerfully anti-bullying,” Mr Rutherford said.
The Guidelines provide advice and new tools for primary and secondary schools to help them prevent and respond to bullying. Mr David Rutherford explains they have additional information on cyber bullying and digital technology, and contain new information on identifying homophobic bullying.
The Bullying Prevention Advisory Group (BPAG) supports schools to create safe and positive environments and improve students’ wellbeing and achievement. The group includes education sector representatives and agencies who share a commitment to taking a stand against bullying.
“We have added suggestions that schools can give parents and caregivers, because schools asked us for more support in this area. A school’s response to bullying is more effective if parents, families, whānau and the wider community are involved,” Mr Rutherford said.
“Bullying takes different forms and can occur in hidden ways such as through social media, text and so on so it is important to be vigilant and to create a culture of anti-bullying in the first instance."
“Bullying of gay and transgender students is overrepresented in bullying statistics and the guide now offers education on sexuality and gender diversity."
“It takes a whole village to raise a child and this approach to bullying will help turn it around and for us to grow stable, bright and happy children,” he said.
The guide is part of an inter-agency Strategic Plan to address bullying. The key dimensions of the plan are:
- improving data on bullying in New Zealand schools
- developing resources for schools
- raising awareness of bullying prevention
- supporting schools to implement effective programmes.
The guide is being distributed to schools and can be downloaded here: Bullying prevention and response: A guide for schools [PDF, 4.4 MB]