Introduction to Contemporary Society

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An important part of all Australian schools is to promote and provide a supportive learning environment in which all students can expect to feel safe. (MCEETYA 2005). School connectedness and supportive social relationships have been associated with positive child outcomes such as lower levels of absenteeism, aggression, and higher levels of academic achievement and self- esteem among children. School bullying removes that safe environment. While bullying in schools was long recognized as existing in Australian literature, first hand study of the problem really did not begin until 1989 –90. The House of Representatives Standing Committee recognized the issue of conflict in schools with the publication of Sticks and Stones on violence in schools (1994). The inquiry concluded that while violence was not a major problem in Australian schools, bullying was. Bullying can be defined as the “repeated oppression, psychological or physical of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group of persons” (Rigby, 1996). Bullying simply has to do with a power imbalance and intentional acts that causes physical, psychological and emotional harm. It can either be direct, hitting or teasing or indirect/convert, spreading gossip and sending damaging text messages. The full extent of bullying is very hard to become aware of because it usually happens out of sight, away from teachers or other adults. Bullying often happens because of the differences between the bullies and victims, such as culture, ethnicity, age, ability or disability, religion, body size and physical appearance, personality and economic status. (Rigby 2009). Children who are being bullied usually do not tell any one else because they feel ashamed and are afraid that telling will only worsen the situation. Bullying can be defined as the “repeated oppression, psychological or physical of a less powerful person by a more powerful person or group of persons” (Rigby, 1996). Bullying simply has...
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