Belonging Beats Bullying
Every now and then it is time for me to write a reminder on the topic of bullying. This is that reminder.
As a Christian, my view is that bullying is the opposite of God’s good intention for human interactions. God designed us to live in harmony, in caring community. God planned for us to be supportive and kind. We are called upon to be like Christ, and Christ is supportive and kind. Bullying is the opposite to belonging. Bullying insidiously isolates people. Belonging kindly includes people.
Jesus famously said: “When two or three people get together because of me, I am there with them.” Well, our school is a gathering of people, and the reason we are gathered is Christian education. In other words, we are gathered because of Christ, and that means He is among us.
So, with Jesus among us, how then must we treat one another? Obviously with respect, kindness, understanding and love. And then, with Jesus among us, how must we respond to bullying? Sadly, bullying can happen in any school. A really important consideration then is: How will a school respond to bullying?
At this school, we are intolerant of bullying. If we hear about it, we investigate it and if we find that there has been bullying, we follow our policy. You can read our MCC “Bullying and Harassment Policy”, it is accessible through the College website.
The College’s policy is intolerant of bullying, and at the same time, it encourages repentance. There are serious consequences for bullying, but that is proper because bullying seriously hurts others; and at MCC we are committed to our students feeling safe to learn and grow.
Bullying is often hard to see. Those who bully try to hide it, and those who are bullied feel unable to speak up. Notwithstanding that, it can be recognised as bullying when it is ongoing, repeated, and targeted.
And let’s not forget that there are behaviours which are unacceptable and yet are not bullying. Here are examples of behaviours are not bullying: (1) Conflict can involve a disagreement without there being an imbalance of power. In other words, conflict itself is not bullying, it is conflict. (2) Single episode acts of unkindness, lack of consideration, nastiness or physical aggression are not bullying. Aggression directed towards many different people is not tolerated, but it is not bullying. (3) Social rejection or dislike in itself is not bullying unless it involves deliberate and ongoing attempts to cause distress, exclude or create dislike by others.
Our students are wonderful students. Many families are longing to join our school, and if we had places, we would happily fit them in. the thing we have going is precious, as is our children’s capacity to learn. Learning matters, so let’s unite, as parents and staff to maintain this school’s wonderful reputation for being a safe place for children learn and grow.
DAVID GLEESON, PRINCIPAL