… from the newsletter notes of Head Teacher John Boyce
Garin parents and students are all aware that one of the things we work very hard at is bullying. Every school has bullying at times.
We see bullying as “repeated unwanted actions or words directed at another student or group of students”. Harassment is a form of bullying. So is sexual harassment. These behaviours are never acceptable in adults or younger people.
Adolescents are finding out about relationships, and they are strongly affected by their friends and peers they admire-and both of these factors mean that there will be times when things go wrong.
That excuses nothing, and you can always expect us to deal with bullying quickly.
Dealing with dysfunctional relationships is a key task in a school as we prepare our young people to take their places in the world-in the world of work, in positive relationships, and in the longer term for many students, in a marriage. People who are handicapped by an inability to form good relationships are handicapped in all of these key areas.
People make mistakes-and our normal first response is educational. We try to help both parties see what happened and why it happened (and try to make sure it won’t happen again). Jesus’ golden rule is frequently quoted: do unto others …
When we find that the problem has not gone away, we have to conclude that our coaching has not worked, and then we move to other consequences. One of the tests we watch for here is to make sure the person who did the bullying does not make the same mistake again by victimising the person who was the victim.
There are all sorts of student words we hear in this regard: words like narking or grassing. That assumes that it was the victim who has reported the problem-but that is not often the case. It is more often parents or friends. But if there is retaliation, it is clear that the bully has learnt nothing, and so we have to take the consequences to the next level. And that may well be a stand down or suspension.