Principal of Bulahdelah Central School, Don Hudson, talks about bullying and victimisation:
Over the past few weeks you couldn’t help but be a part of the Adam Goodes story.
Most people have a perspective or belief on why Adam Goodes is being targeted with booing when playing AFL for the Sydney Swans.
There is no doubt that this is a type of bullying and just because Adam is playing ‘sport’ does not mean he has to accept what is being perpetrated.
As was noted in one paper, Adam is sick and tired of this behaviour.
It has been happening for too long and it has taken its toll.
Goodes has done nothing to earn disrespect from anyone.
Within schools we have a policy that classifies bullying as an act that can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender.
Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long term effects on those involved including bystanders.
As a school it is important that with our community we work together to provide quality learning environments which are friendly, inclusive, safe and supportive.
All students and staff have the right to be treated fairly and with dignity in an environment free from disruption, intimidation, harassment, victimisation and discrimination.
All too often people place the blame for bullying on the shoulders of the target.
They falsely believe that if the victim of bullying were somehow different, then bullying wouldn’t happen.
If you have read any of the papers last week or listened to the radio this was certainly the case for Adam Goodes.
And while it is true that some things can help deter bullying like developing social skills and building self-esteem, the truth is that anyone can become a victim of bullying.
There are a number of reasons why bullies target others, but none of those reasons are the victim’s fault.
The responsibility for bullying always belongs to the bully.
There are cases where victims may indeed hold some responsibility for their misfortune, but all too often this responsibility is overblown and other factors are discounted.
As with the AFL acknowledgment that this episode does not reflect well on their game, the same can be said for schools.
We all want to make the world a better place and one way to work towards this is to fight the impulse to rationalise others’ suffering and show compassion instead.
We all can learn from the Adam Goodes story.