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Saying a big no to bullies

“Bully free zone” was the message permeating through Warrawong Public School as students, teachers and parents came together to stamp out bullying in their school.

Wednesday April 5 saw all students, from kindergarten to year 6, participate in a series of ant-bullying activities.

Some of the activities included cooking, cooperative learning activities, cooperative craft, cooperative games and role-playing dramas, where students acted out being bullied and being the one doing the bullying and then discussed the subject. Some of the activities were done using “buddies” where an older class teams up with a younger class for a particular activity.

Each student received a green wristband with the words “Warrawong P.S Bully Free Zone” written on it. The bands were green as this is the school colour.

Assistant Principal student welfare Debbie McIlwain said the wristbands provided a physical reminder to students about the anti-bullying message.

“Nearly all of the children are wearing them, they have been very popular, lots of the children have come up to me and said thanks for the wristbands,” Ms McIlwain said.

She said the inspiration for the anti-bullying day came from a previous initiative “Speak up against bullying” the school had run.

“Last year “Speak up against bullying” was so successful we decided to put it into the student welfare program and today stems from there,” said Ms McIlwain.

As part of the day the school’s faculty invited parents to join in a “parent forum”.

“The parent forum was quite well attended, we raised lots of bullying issues,” said Ms McIlwain.

One issue raised was the difference between bullying and dobbing. According to Ms McIlwain the perception of children is that dobbing is bad and they don’t want to “tell on” their peers.

“We want to educate children to know the difference between bullying and dobbing,” said Ms McIlwain.

She said overall the day was a positive one for the school.

“Today’s activities foster self-esteem, cooperation and tolerance in the students,” said Ms McIlwain.

She said the anti-bullying day instilled positive values in the children making them less likely to either bully or be victimised by a bully.

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