October is Bullying Awareness Month. To raise awareness around the global initiative, Riverside College, a pre-primary, primary and high school on Burgundy Estate in Cape Town, hosted an anti-bullying event, which culminated in a stop bullying message formed by the learners themselves.
Bullying in schools is a worldwide phenomenon that has the potential to impact on children not only physically but also psychologically. As with most forms of abuse, bullies are often victims themselves. “Many bullies suffer from anger or frustration due to their circumstances at home, some do it to look good and assert themselves. In some cases bullies often aren’t even aware that they are being bullies,” Riverside College high school principal and counsellor Dave Swart says.
Bullying is not limited to physical violence such as teasing, taunting, threatening, hitting, and stealing it also comes in more indirect forms such as social isolation through intentional exclusion and cyber bullying.
“Tackling bullying at schools is never easy; more often than not, it is difficult to prove and often it goes unreported due to fear of repercussion,” says Swart.
Schools need to create a platform for open communication, which engages with the bullies and the victims says Swart; “We run regular workshops to create awareness around negative, harmful behaviour and encourage our learners to speak out if they feel they are being targeted.”
Each year learners and teachers alike at Riverside College sign a manifesto against bullying. It reads as follows:
I am not a bully!
I will RESPECT others and treat them in the way I would like to be treated. I will show this in the manner in which I deal with them.
I will be PATIENT with others and help where needed as I respect the fact that we all do things at a different pace.
I will ACCEPT people as they are and I will not try to change them.
“Bullying has the potential to do a lot of harm. It is something that we take very seriously as a school, we support Bullying Awareness Month and collectively say no to bullies,” says Swart.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications:
021 447 1082 / 082 824 8617
On behalf of Riverside College:
Director: Elana Edwards
High School principal: Dave Swart