Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt today encouraged the community to take a stand against bullying at the third National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence.

Addressing Gordonvale State School students this morning, Mr Pitt said the issue of bullying required concerted, cooperative action by the whole community.

“Every student has the right to learn in a positive, safe and caring environment where they can reach their full potential,” Mr Pitt said.

“We must ensure schools remain a safe place for students to learn and for teachers to teach.

“Bullying has no place in school communities and if we all take a stand, a strong message will be sent to bullies that their behaviour is unacceptable.

Mr Pitt said bullying is a serious and complex issue but as awareness grows, so too does the momentum to address it.

“Everyone needs to be aware of the detrimental effect bullying can have on people’s lives – both the victim and the bully.

“In the adult population, one in five people experience mental ill-health in any given year. Over a lifetime, it’s nearly one in two people. This action in schools can go a long way to getting in early to prevent a lifetime of emotional unwellness.

“The National Day is a great reminder for schools to address the issue by talking openly about the issue ensuring it never gets buried.

“Like many cases of emotional wellbeing, the more people can talk about it, the better chance we have as a community to be inclusive and to provide the necessary support.”

Mr Pitt said there are different types of bullying including overt, covert and cyber bullying.

“Overt bullying, which is sometimes referred to as face to face bullying, involves physical actions such as punching or kicking, or overt verbal actions such as name calling and insults,” Mr Pitt said.

“Covert bullying is an indirect form of bullying which can often go undetected by teachers and includes hand gestures, threatening looks, blackmail, gossip, rumours and criticism.

“Cyber bullying can be conducted many ways using different media. It can involve the sending of abusive texts or emails, the taking and sharing of unflattering images, posting harmful material on social networking sites and assuming the identity of the victim online.

“Cyber bullying can be invasive and difficult to escape as it can occur 24/7 and can target the person when they are at home. It can involve harmful material being widely and rapidly disseminated to a wide audience, and it can provide the bully with relative anonymity.

“I’m certainly in favour of schools that have taken the initiative to control the use of mobile phones during school hours. It won’t solve the problem but it can help lessen the opportunity for bullying and violence.”

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