Nine students were selected from over 140 entries for their posters promoting upstander behaviour.
Step in and speak up. Be a buddy. Be an upstander. These were some of the powerful messages included in winning entries from the 2019 #ihaveyourback student poster competition.
An upstander is a person who speaks or acts in support of someone being bullied. It doesn't have to be direct; it could be as simple as checking whether a friend is okay.
Through encouraging upstander behaviour, Mornington Secondary College, Bellbridge Primary School and Swan Hill Specialist School recognise that every student can contribute to a safe and welcoming environment.
Mornington Secondary College
The winning entry from Mornington Secondary College by Year 10 student Connor reminds students that 'You're not alone. There are always people you can talk to.'
For Connor, being an upstander means 'Actually doing something about something you believe in. Not standing back and watching it happen.'
Wellbeing Assistant Principal Ms Jenny Mason says that Mornington Secondary College is committed to a culture of positivity, where hurtful behaviours are unacceptable. The school has a large wellbeing team and school wellbeing initiatives. Teachers encourage students to lead a key role in creating a safe and supportive school environment.
'Students are the most important part of creating a positive, supportive environment,' Ms Mason says.
Connor's poster echoes the school's attitudes to bullying prevention:
Bellbridge Primary school
Bellbridge Primary School Year 5 student Anissa's winning poster identifies four strategies for bullying prevention: interrupt, be a buddy, tell an adult, and speak out.
Anissa says she entered the poster competition because 'I want to stop bullying. Also, because I want to teach people to be an upstander.'
Bellbridge Primary School participates in the
Respectful Relationships program and national mental health initiatives. They publish positive messages in its newsletter and is eSmart accredited. The school also runs online safety workshops every year.
Anissa's teacher Ms Belinda Onofretchook says shifting the focus from bystander behaviour to upstander behaviour has been popular with staff and students. 'It's a positive word,' Ms Onofretchook says.
At Bellbridge, upstander behaviour means "doing something about it." If a student isn't comfortable directly intervening in bullying, they are welcome to talk to teachers or offer their support to a peer afterwards.
Swan Hill Specialist School
Swan Hill Specialist School teaches their students to "look out for your mates." The school has a strong culture of friendship and supportive peer groups.
Students are equipped with positive social skills and a variety of strategies to prevent and respond to bullying. If students experience bullying, they know how to be a good friend, alert staff and look after each other.
Reflecting the school's positive messages, Lachie' brightly coloured winning poster encourages students to 'be an upstander' so that 'we can all be friends.'
Teacher Ms Bridget Caruso says 'Lachie did a super job.'
'He's a tremendous student and his personal concern for other students really showed in the poster,' Ms Caruso says.
Congratulations to all the winning students on their powerful posters.
See all of our bullying prevention initiatives and more about upstander behaviour at