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Shared Responsibility

Shared Responsibility by Ian Findley
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I am writing this book because I need your help to solve a problem, a big problem, the problem of bullying in schools. It is my hope that after reading this book you will assist me by sharing the responsibility in combating this serious problem, a problem that has plagued schools since community schooling began. I cannot do it alone, I need your help. If we work together I'm sure we will discover ways that will ensure the safety of the victims and put a stop to bullying. As a teenager I was both a bully and a victim, so I know what it is like on both sides of the fence. In twenty-seven years of teaching and working in secondary schools, I have encountered and responded to many incidents of bullying, but it wasn't until I became a School Chaplain in 1993 that the seriousness of bullying really hit home to me. As a chaplain I got to hear many of the usually untold stories that lie behind the sad, sometimes helpless eyes of the victims. I became privy to the pain of those who had been subjected to cruel, hurtful, sometimes spirit-breaking acts of bullying. Over the years schools have struggled to know how to ensure both the safety and a feeling of safety for the students who have been the unfortunate recipients of bullying. Schools have been largely ineffective in changing the behaviour of those who bully others. In addition to this, schools have failed to provide effective support programs that assist the wounded students to recover, heal, and rise above bullying. Schools have traditionally tried to overcome bullying with a 'fix the bully' type mentality. Since the rise in awareness of the impact of bullying in our schools, governments have required all schools to have a 'bullying policy' in place. Schools now boast of policies that do not tolerate bullying. Some are even bold enough to make claims of having a 'bully free' school. No schools are 'bully free'. Bullying is a social phenomenon. It occurs when people are grouped together and battle for recognition, power and social position. The policy is not what is important. What is important is the procedure: the method the school uses to respond to and deal with bullying incidents. It is the procedure that gives life, power and meaning to the policy. It is the procedure that either succeeds or fails.
Australian Council for Educational Research; Read online
Title: Shared Responsibility
Author: Ian Findley

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