A shock – bullying too close to home!

Last night I was shown a clip of Australia’s number 1 cyber bully, Tristan Barker. This story featured heavily in the New Zealand press where he is currently living with his father.

I suppose what brought this to home was that I coached this young person in a Saturday afternoon basketball competition at Sandringham Stadium. He, along with a few others including my son, played for 2 seasons and while I can recall Tristan showing a certain bravado and “look at me” attitude nothing prepared me for the shock of this episode.

So what you may ask. Well I’m paid as a Principal to know young people – and yet didn’t see this as his coach. So what must parents think when they are confronted with this about their child? I would hope horror although by one story I saw this didn’t seem to be the case with Tristan’s dad.

What can we learn …. I would hope that nothing replaces parent conversations (not lectures) with their young ones and nothing replaces the parent support of constant internet supervision in the home.

There are times when I feel that society (expectations of its institutions e.g courts and schools) goes too far in support of the rights of the individual verses the rights of the community but here clearly is one example where the community is saying enough is enough. My feelings go to the victims of the cyber bullying before we as a community (in this case the police) make that call. I know as I have been called in my local community as a Principal to make a similar stand like that of the police in this case. It’s not easy to face people (victims) knowing that you have to build a case but that’s the process the community expects – just in case we get it wrong. Yes we are fallible.

What’s your call?

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3 Responses to A shock – bullying too close to home!

  1. Sarah Salter says:

    Mark, perhaps what you didn’t also see was the apology the next night saying that the accuser of his bullying was found to be a serial attention seeker who had conned the media before and in fact was a friend of Tristan. I am sure there is a lot to be believed in the story however what we need also to do with our young people is to get them to be wary consumers of media with so much trickery and pure lies around it is very difficult to see just one little story and draw conclusions from it.

    On a very positive note today at my school and child came up to me talking about tomorrow’s national day of action against bullying and had told me she had heard on the radio that people were wearing orange to school tomorrow to make a stand against bullying. This was at recess today. By lunchtime we had an SRC meeting and had written a letter to all the parents on the National Action day letterhead talking about how we would take action at MPS. The SRC decided that the whole school should wear something orange tomorrow so that we all make a stand against bullying. The child and I signed the letter home and every SRC member took letters to every class talking to the kids about how important tomorrow was and how we should all stand together. This is the sort of story that should be on TV. We made it happen and quickly and all because a child heard something positive on the radio and was inspired enough to take action.

    I’ll try and get a photo of us all in orange. Go to Bullying. No Way!
    http://www.bullyingnoway.com.au/ for all the details about tomorrow.

  2. Great piece. Will use this with parent at school. Follow me at mountain2surf.wordpress.com

    • mwalker says:

      Thanks Andrew. I liked your link to student motivation. I have recently been working with Dr George Otero from New Mexico on this work around relational learning and he breaks down student engagement (which is a strong pointer to academic success) to student motivation, student interest and a 3rd variable which I’ll need to look up. I quote George when he say the quality of the relationship (teacher – student – peers) determines the quality of learning. That’s a strong endorsement for teachers getting to know their students – which is a way of caring spoken about in the article. Thanks for the link.

Interested in your thoughts