Bullying is something we hear about often both at school and in the workplace. However, people can hold quite diverse views on what bullying actually is. The national definition of bullying agreed to by all state and territory departments is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Bullying has negative impacts for students who are bullied, those who do the bullying and the students who witness it. Involving students in the school’s anti-bullying strategies is an important part of the solution. Australian research shows that bullying peaks during the years of transition to high school and early high school, and then tends to decline in senior school.
Some students are more likely to be bullied – those who stand out as different, those with a disability and those who react more strongly to teasing. Some students are also more likely to bully others. Bullying is serious: even what appears to be ‘mild’ bullying can have a devastating impact on students if they don’t feel safe coming to school and are not able to focus on learning and having fun with friends.
Why talk about bullying? The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence is on 21 March 2014. This day is an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and the whole community to take a stand together against bullying and violence. This activity is part of the work being done across Australia to ‘take a stand together’ on the National Day of Action.