Local schools took a united stand against bullying and violence on Friday as part of a national day of action.
For Canadian Lead Primary School, the key aim was to ensure every pupil at the school felt safe and welcome.
Principal Darlene Cameron said there was a whole school behaviour strategy in place to deal with bullying that included restorative practices.
“It is about actually talking to students about what they could do next time instead of making those poor choices and to stop and think before you do something,” she said. “I think we’re fortunate that we can prevent things from getting worse than what they could be if they were left unattended.”
Last year pupils made a mural using their bodies spelling out the word ‘no!’. This year they created a colourful paper chain incorporating messages of hope.
Year 6 pupil Amarli Seamons said the whole school had jumped on board to take part in the day.
“Today is about us saying no to bullying and trying to stop it from happening at not just our school, but every school,” she said. “It is important to stop it so that people stop getting hurt. Some bullying can get really dangerous and can kill people.”
Damascus College held a bake sale where students made a pledge against bullying and received a sweet treat in return.
Students from the wellbeing committee were in charge of the day, which also included posters around the school and wristbands.
Year 12 student and committee member Taylah Middlemiss said the day was about making students feel more comfortable about coming to school so they could reach their full potential without worrying about bullying and negative relationships.
“There are so many connections with teachers and counsellors that if you do have a problem there is something done about it,” she said.
School counsellor Christie Stevens said the day was also an opportunity for students to realise it may not just be them experiencing the bullying, that it could happen to anybody at anytime.
“We believe in bringing kids together and making sure each child in the situation has been heard as well as making sure they feel like what they have said has been followed up on and that there is action being taken to help them,” she said. “We want to ensure they feel safe and secure at school.”