Primary students take a stronger stand against schoolyard bullying

By Charmayne Allison

ST MARY’S Primary School said no to bullying recently on the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

Students made posters, role-played and drew a chalk mural, with the year 5 and 6 students also taking part in an anti-bullying webinar run through the eSafety Commissioner with schools across Australia.

The day also coincided with St Mary’s launch of eSmart, a set of educational tools aimed at tackling bullying and cyber bullying in schools.

“It’s given us a real direction in where we need to go in our school, particularly around cyber risks for our children,” digital manager Sarah Dicker said.

“It’s enabled us to have a solid curriculum when it comes to teaching about these risks. Because not all teachers are really comfortable or confident or know what resource to go to.

“And it gives us a bank of quality resources from the eSafety Commissioner and a steady framework for us to work from.”

Ms Dicker has been in her role at the school for about eight years and said the online world was developing at a break-neck speed – bringing more and more challenges with it.

“The risks associated with the online world have certainly increased – kids have got very clever with technology, although they don’t realise what their digital footprint is,” she said.

“The information they’re putting in on Roblox or Minecraft, that profile can be traced or tracked. So educating the children particularly in the junior area of the school is really important.

“And our message to the kids has been, if something scares you or makes you worried, close it down and speak with an adult.”

Pastoral wellbeing leader Judy Stewart said while the school was observing the National Day of Action, the anti-bullying message was one St Mary’s promoted all year around.

“It’s intensive today but through the years they’ve been doing the respectful relationships program as well as mindfulness in the classrooms to teach the kids to be calm and self-monitor behaviour,” she said. “Above all, we want to teach kids to say enough when they see, hear or feel bullying.”