Bullying & It’s Various forms March 2011

By Parentline, 20 June 2011

CEO Cathy Holland’s Column in the Hamilton Press

bullying & its various forms….

16 years Casey Heynes has become the face of the anti bullying campaign in Australia.  In a video clip, sensationalised around the world, Casey reportedly “snaps” and is seen picking up his tormentor and body slamming him to the ground. The headlines capture the moment – “Bullied boy Casey Heynes becomes a viral video star after fighting back”.

Bullying is most evident in schools; it can take the form of physical abuse and stand over tactics or it can be less obvious but just as harmful.  Boys are liable to use physical violence and threats of violence whilst girls are more likely to make insulting remarks, spread rumours and humiliate other girls.

In the bullying stakes, we don’t do well. According to an international survey New Zealand children have the second highest reported incidence of bullying. Teachers tell us that name calling, humiliation, shaming and exclusion from groups and games make up between 80 – 90% of all bullying.

Recently we have seen a number of serious incidents in school grounds across New Zealand. Last month, there was the particularly violent assault on a Morrinsville College student here in the Waikato, when she was barricaded into a toilet and beaten until unconscious. This month a Wanganui Girls College student was hospitalised after she was viciously attacked and left unconscious after allegedly being stomped on the head and in a similar incident at Lynfield College in Auckland, a student was taken to Hospital after being repeatedly punched in the head during a fight in the school grounds.

Whilst I don’t want to detract from the evils of playground bullying, what I found most disturbing about these incidents is how quickly filming of the assaults hit the e-world, via pxt messaging. The grim fact that another student can stand by and film a beating rather than intervene and then take great delight in circulating the pictures to his / her wider network, I think, is a more insidious form of bullying.  In the Casey Heynes video, other students can clearly be heard in the background cheering and encouraging the violence to continue.

This year Parentline has introduced a school wide programme into a cluster of Hamilton primary schools that actively discourages bullying in the playground and instead works with teachers and children to refocus on building social competence and academic achievement in school. We also facilitate two groups – TAK (Totally Awesome Kids) to build the confidence of children who may have been bullied and TRANSFORMERS which teaches children how to manage their anger.   Information about these programmes is available by contacting Lisa Herewini, Intake Coordinator at Parentline on 07 839 4536.