On Tuesday last, 7th February, 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students attended a work shop facilitated by Kevin Deering and Jim Harding (Founder and Director of Bully 4u) from Bully 4u.
Bully 4u is a national not for profit organisation with an excellent reputation in the provision of anti-bullying services for Primary and Secondary schools in Ireland.
Students in CCS found the workshops extremely effective encouraging the following results:
- Empowering the victims of bullying to seek assistance to end the cycle of abuse they are enduring.
- Assisting students engaged in bullying behaviour to recognise and change their behaviour.
- Empowering bystanders to support their fellow students and to report bullying behaviour to school authorities.
Kevin defined bullying as “The deliberate intimidation, persecution of those who are perceived as weaker”. Over the course of the workshops students for the 3 year groups took turns designing the front of a white tee shirt reflecting the experience of victims of Bullying. Displaying the Tee shirt in the Assembly Area, Kevin suggested would be a vivid reminder of the huge physical, emotional and psychological pain brought on by feelings of fear, loneliness, confusion, humiliation, stress, desperation, lack of self-esteem and self-confidence. He stressed the importance of victims seeking help to end the pain they are enduring as studies show young Bullys and Bully victims are more likely to suffer psychiatric problems or depression as adults.
Initially Kevin spoke about verbal bullying – hurtful words that can lower ones self-esteem. He emphasised always that there are three people involved in bullying – the victim, the bully and the bystander. He urged people not to stand idly by and do nothing and informed them of the different options of the bystander.
Moving on to physical bullying Kevin discussed the implications of hitting or kicking the property of the victim. Once again he reiterated the effect of these on the victim.
Finally, Kevin spoke about cyber bullying. This involves using technology to harass, intimidate or sending inappropriate messages to people. They focused intensely on the under belly of the WWW in particular “selfies” and sexting.
This takes place 24/7 and the person does not feel safe even in their own home. Students were informed that everything you do online leaves a digital footprint. Some people online will send inappropriate photos and use threatening behaviour. Others will “catfish” you by pretending to be someone they are not. Kevin, time and time again, highlighted the importance of dealing with this problem stating that everyone has a part to play. Students were urged to take personal responsibility for how they treat others, be it in person or on digital media. They were to remember that their future employers and police services worldwide can access the digital footprint at any stage once they begin using mobile devices over their entire lifetime. Students found this a most interesting, reflective and stimulating presentation and hopefully benefitted from the workshop.
Later in the evening parents were afforded the opportunity to attend this workshop also.
The key message to parents/guardians was “build solid relationships that support children socially among people and on social media”. Be informed and be safe. “Your children have the right to be kept safe and happy exploring the world”