Central Victorian students are being urged to support a $4 million state government initiative to stop bullying in schools.
Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon launched the Bully Stoppers campaign yesterday with the aim of curbing bullying in schools.
The campaign works by providing schools with a series of resources, including an online learning course, fact sheets and lesson plans to help them tackle the issue of bullying.
Mr Dixon said bullying affected many young people and could have a long-lasting impact for both the bully and victim.
He said the campaign followed the eSmart initiative last year to help schools manage cyber-safety and deal with cyber-bullying.
“Bully Stoppers extends this (the eSmart initiative) further, by providing tools and resources to tackle bullying in all its forms, physical, verbal and on the Internet,” he said.
Weeroona College runs a program similar to the Bully Stoppers campaign and vice principal Jason Southby said it had been successful.
Mr Southby said at the start of the year every student in the school had signed a pledge by writing their name on a board and if they were involved in a bullying incident, their name was rubbed out and they had to earn the right to have it put back up.
He said the idea was to provide students with a clear and visible reminder that bullying was not accepted at the college.
“By having everyone’s name on the board it gets across the message to students that we are all in this together,” he said.
“It is about being proactive and preventing bullying from happening in the first place instead of dealing with it later.”
Mr Dixon also launched a $1 million Bully Stoppers grants program, which will provide up to 200 schools with grants of $5000 to enable them to run projects on bullying.
The program will be supported by Telstra, which will provide each school that received a Bully Stopper grant with a tablet computer, a data card and a cyber-safety kit.
For more information on the Bully Stopper campaign visit www.education.vic.gov.au/bullystoppers