The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

I had already completed this Thistle article on Friday afternoon, none the wiser at that stage of what had unfolded in Christchurch NZ. Upon getting home that night my family asked what I thought about the attacks in Christchurch. Such incidents are incomprehensible to any normal person and, no matter how much analysis or soul searching one does, nothing explains why a fellow human being would carry out such an act of religious bigotry.

On behalf of the Scotch College community, we extend all of our thoughts and prayers to the city of Christchurch and the people of such a beautiful place and welcoming country, New Zealand. We particularly pray for the families who experienced the direct loss of their loved ones. May those who were taken rest in peace.

At Scotch College, as part of our wellbeing resources, we have a professional association with SchoolTV.  They have provided the College with a link to a short, seven minute video with Michael Carr-Gregg speaking. Michael is a leading Psychologist who does a lot of work with schools and communities. Should parents wish to view this, please click here.

Last Friday, 15 March was the National Day of Action against bullying and violence. I addressed this matter at our Senior School Assembly on Friday. There cannot be a more important matter than addressing the matter of bullying in society. Of course, one of the challenges regarding bullying and its associated issues is trying to be clear about what constitutes bullying.

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools is:

Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or rights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying. However, these conflicts still need to be addressed and resolved.  

As a college, we try to focus on activities and policies geared at minimising the incidents of bullying, and for that matter the single incidents and conflict or rights between equals, whether in person or online. While it is imperative that a modern institution has appropriate policies, these alone do not change behaviour, nor create a sustainable culture. The greatest strategy to address bullying, is to create a culture whereby the activities and experiences, expectations and aspirations, all reward a culture of non-bullying. If any parent is ever concerned about their son, or would like to know about the strategies we have in place regarding the issue of bullying, they should make immediate contact with their respective sub school. Parents may find this link with some simple tips of use if this topic ever comes up at home.

It is the role of all of us involved in the Scotch community, to ensure that the culture we promote and the messages we send, are counter to anyone who thinks that bullying is in anyway acceptable in our society.

Have a great fortnight.