Creating a bully-free school a responsibility for all

Schools should be a safe and nurturing environment for all students. Unfortunately, the reality is that schools are also places where bullying episodes can take place.

While bullying is a social concern for many, most people do not know how to deal with it. At the Singapore Children's Society, we believe that the crux of a bully-free school environment lies in making anti-bullying a priority issue among students, parents, school personnel, educational authorities and the community at large.

It is especially pertinent that members of the entire school community are made aware of their roles and responsibilities in preventing or stopping bullying behaviour. We have been working towards this goal since 2004.

The Singapore Children's Society has been organising talks, workshops, group work and campaigns to help students identify bullying behaviour and understand its corresponding detrimental impact.

We also have various programmes designed to help victims, bullies and bystanders.

Bystanders can be protective figures and they can be empowered to discourage bullying in a safe manner.

In addition, we also conduct annual Bully-Free Ambassadors Training Camps, a public roadshow, forums, and training for teachers and parents.

To better understand the bullying phenomenon and develop more effective strategies to manage it, we have conducted a series of research studies and are continuing to do so.

In the light of the alleged bullying incident at Shuqun Secondary, the Singapore Children's Society has offered its services to the school ("Jurong school counselling students in bullying video"; Tuesday).

We would also like to spread the bully-free environment to all schools and would gladly work with the Ministry of Education to do so.

While we may not be able to totally obliterate bullying in schools, there is still much we can do to minimise its occurrence and reduce its impact on students.

More tips and information can be found on our microsite, www.bullyfreecampaign.sg

Ho Lai Yun (Professor)
Chairman, Research and Advocacy Standing Committee
Singapore Children's Society

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Creating a bully-free school a responsibility for all'. Print Edition | Subscribe