ADVICE: Year 12's talk about bullying at school
WHEN Ben Manahan first started high school in 2015 he was the target of online bullies.
Now he's part of the team of Year 12s at St Joseph's helping victims speak up and teaching perpetrators what they're doing is not okay.
Tomorrow is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence when schools all across the country will say "Bullying. No Way!”
Jared Hitchener, Skyie McCosker, Nadia Calvisi and Amelia Fueller joined Ben in a discussion with The Border Post about how to tackle bullying.
"Bullying is a very real thing,” Ben said.
"Kids deal with it every day.
"It can lead to some really traumatising events.
"I think raising awareness and showing people that bullying isn't cool, it's not the way you should go about high school, you're there to learn, not to bully kids.”
Jared said online bullying was a major issue due to the rise of social media.
"It's getting so easy just to bully online,” he said.
"You can't say it to them but you can text them.”
Skyie's advice for victims was to speak up.
"Screenshot what they said then block them and take it to the teachers or the parents,” she said.
For Ben, it took him a year before he spoke up about what was happening to him.
"I didn't want to talk to my parents because I thought they'd react
straight away and take it further than it needed,” he said.
"So I spoke to one of my teachers and had a meeting with the other kid, got their parents into it and eventually it fizzled out.
"It was good the way the school managed it.
"It was all about building the confidence and I think that's the most important thing for students to do nowadays is building confidence.”
All five students realise that for bullies there's often more happening than meets the eye. Skyie said there could sometimes be trouble at home.
"Maybe it's their way of saying they need help or maybe they need someone to talk to,” she said.
"They might just need to get it out of their system.”
"There's always a reason why they're bullying,” Jared added.
"If the person getting bullied confronts a friend and the friend confronts the bully, then it can break down why it is that way and it can also break down the situation for the person getting bullied so it stops.
"It might just take one person talking to the bully.”
They hoped the Day of Action would achieve two things.
One, help give victims the confidence to speak up and two, help perpetrators realise their behaviour may be bullying and work to help them stop.
"Maybe some bullies will actually take a step back and think about how the other person is actually feeling,” Amelia said.