The importance of promoting the Choose Respect message has been highlighted with National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on March 16 as well as Harmony Week from March 15.
Carey Park Primary School has been involved with Choose Respect since 2008 and principal Peter Rigden said it has helped them focus on building a safer and happier school community.
Choose Respect was formed to raise awareness about the importance of being kind and considerate to people as well to remind before that being disrespectful can have consequences.
Since its formation, schools, businesses and sporting clubs have got on board the Choose Respect message.
Mr Rigden said Harmony Week allowed them to celebrate the school’s diverse range of religions, backgrounds and cultures.
“Makes it a dynamic place and need to show tolerance and understanding and forgiveness for people that do things different,” he said.
As well as Harmony Week, the school will be holding activities as part of National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.
Mr Rigden said with the help of Choose Respect they have implemented a three step strategy to empower students to overcome bullying.
The strategy includes students taking responsibility for themselves by walking away or ignoring the bully and if that doesn’t work to try and confront the bully. If those two steps don’t work the third step is to ask for support by a teacher or parent.
“We have lots of examples where students applied strategies and it has worked and examples of students not applying the strategies and things don’t improve,” he said.
Carey Park Primary has seen a reduction in bullying by 50 per cent within a two year period.
However, Mr Rigden said social media was a massive problem which was an extra challenge for the school.
“Causing massive problems and through Choose Respect we been working through this one and been using the ‘words can wound’ project to make sure people can manage it themselves,” he said.
Mr Rigden said the school also asks parents and carers to rethink when and how children access the internet and social media.