Bendigo and Mallee schools take action to prevent bullying

Students are learning powerful messages about bullying through school-wide bullying prevention activities.

2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA). Schools are teaching students to 'take action together' to respond to bullying and build positive relationships.

Strathfieldsaye Primary School and Donald High School have been a part of  the NDA since it began in 2010.

Build awareness through cross-age connections and student voice

Strathfieldsaye Primary School encourages students to take an active role in building a safe learning environment. Through their multi-age Group Action Project (GAP) program and student leadership, students can build relationships in the school and wider community, and have a sense of belonging.

Strathfieldsay PS Artwork
One of the artworks created by students at Strathfieldsaye Primary School

Principal Cindi Bruechert says the strong presence of student voice builds agency and engagement. Student leadership opportunities, including Junior School Council and Aboriginal young leaders, help empower students in co-designing their school culture.

Students initiated the school's involvement in the NDA in 2010, when they hosted a casual clothes day to raise money. 

Since then, students have taken part in other NDA activities, such as making visual representations of themselves in art. This artwork is a permanent part of the school environment and upholds the message of the NDA.

'Awareness of positive action to prevent bullying is strengthened through links to year-wide learning opportunities,' says Cindi. 

'The NDA is a wonderful opportunity to build connections with the student body, helps students and teachers to think about how bullying affects everyone, and how we can work together to support others.'

To reach all members of the school community, Strathfieldsaye Primary School invites parents and carers to NDA celebrations. These celebrations highlight the shared responsibility of bullying prevention. 

Positive action strengthens school culture

At Donald High School, students develop the skills to recognise and call out bullying.

'We know how bullying can lead to long-lasting mental health issues, so we want to make sure we do everything we can to create a supportive school,' says Paul Aikman, Principal of Donald High School.

The school teaches students not to be bystanders when they witness bullying and works to build  peer support. A strong wellbeing team, combined with the Respectful Relationships curriculum, helps support students in feeling supported when reporting bullying behaviour.

Promotion of the NDA in the school community also helps to spread this message.

The school's proactive approach to bullying prevention led the school's decade long involvement in the NDA.

'The NDA really builds awareness and brings the issue to the front. Your strength of school culture is reflected in how proactive your school community is to addressing bullying', says Paul.

National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence

This year's National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence will be on Friday 20 March. The theme is 'Take Action Together'. Everyone is invited to become a part of the solution and take action against bullying and violence in their school, community and beyond.

Find out how your school community can get involved, or register your school, at the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

We're helping schools address bullying by supporting them in building a culture of respect and understanding, and empowering students to call out bullying when they see it. See what we're doing at Bully Stoppers.