From the Principal
National Day Against Bullying and Violence
Bullying is an issue which has justifiably caught much media attention in recent months, and the reality is that it is an issue that affects all aspects of society including schools. The fact is that children make mistakes sometimes – their judgement can be questionable, they are working out how to relate to one another and they are more than capable of making rash and poor decisions. Sometimes, they get it wrong as part of the process of growing up.
These comments are not to excuse bullying behaviour, which is entirely unacceptable and something that we take extremely seriously at TSAC. One of our primary roles as educators is to keep students safe and, whilst our College is a restorative society in which people are allowed to make and learn from their mistakes, we won’t tolerate any behaviours that put the safety of our students at risk.
Such is our commitment to this that we have, as you may well know, stated that Student Care is one of our overarching commitments in our Strategic Plan, including our firm commitments to ‘maintain a school environment where students feel happy, safe and connected to the College’ and that we will ‘implement strategies and teach students age appropriate skills which promote responsibility, safe and inclusive behaviours’.
Partly, managing bullying in schools is a reactive process as we deal with those people who might sometimes get it wrong. Of course though, managing it is also largely about preventative action – working with home to ensure that children understand the ways in which they should relate to one another, how their behaviour and decisions can impact on other people, and what it means to have to take responsibility for their actions if they get it wrong.
Today is the National Day Against Bullying and Violence, and in recent weeks our students have been engaged in conversations about subjects related to this issue such as peer pressure, being other person centered and cyber safety. Today, they have worn casual clothes on both campuses to raise awareness of the issue, and on Secondary with gold coin donations going to the Dolly’s Dream Foundation. They have each also been given a bracelet, to signify their commitment to making TSAC a safe place.
The matter of cyber safety is of increasing concern in schools and homes, and this is also something that we are addressing with proactive and reactive action when necessary.
As part of the College’s ongoing commitment to providing cyber safety education we are sharing the TSAC Social Media Guidelines with our students. These have been shared in a range of positive informative ways across the College, within Digital Technologies teaching on both the Primary and Senior campuses and with our Clan Leaders. In addition, on Parent Portal we have created a link to schoolTV which provides information and resources for parents on how to manage the internet at home.
The Guidelines have been created to uphold the ethos and expectations of the College whilst interacting with social media.
I would also like to share with the College community an opportunity to gain more information about the challenges social media and other technologies place upon our students. On Tuesday 24 April between 5:30 – 6:30pm, we have invited Steve Window to the Jacaranda Building on the Secondary Campus, so that he can provide parents with advice on how to assist their children with cyber safety.
Steve is highly experienced in matters of online behaviours and safety, having entered Queensland Police Service in May 1994. During that time he was a Detective, and for the majority of his service performed a variety of criminal investigation work, however he also spent 4 years as an intelligence officer. He specialised in online investigations with Task Force Argos from 2009 to 2016, and was seconded to G20 Cyber Cell. Steve ended his police service in the Child Trauma and Sexual Crime Unit prior to joining the Anglican Schools Commission as the Cyber Safety Support Officer.
Steve’s session for parents will focus upon the AIDE Principle (Application, Internet, Device, Educate and Engage), which includes:
- Online Risks to our children
- What parents and carers can do if something goes wrong
- How parents and carers help reduce the risk to their child
- Additional online support and training offered to parents by the Anglican Schools Commission
I warmly invite all parents to attend this session, and ask that you RSVP here is you wish to do so. I’d also like to remind parents that they are free to contact the College at any time if they have concerns or questions about bullying of any type. Myself, Mrs. Brewer and Mr. Clark as Heads of Campus, Mr. Swinton and Mrs. Williams as Student Protection Officers, Heads of Clan and form or class teachers will all be happy to offer advice, or put you in contact with the appropriate person to assist you.