More Australian students are experiencing bullying than students in other developed countries, an international teacher's survey has found.
A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found about 37 per cent of Australian principals said incidents of bullying and intimidation between students happened weekly at their schools.
The average across OECD countries was 14 per cent.
The OECD report found intimidation or bullying among students had risen in Australia, from 30.1 per cent in 2013 to 37.3 per cent in 2018.
Reports of physical injury caused by violence among students also increased from 5.9 per cent in 2013 to 7.2 per cent in 2018.
Crusoe College principal Brad Madden said while physical altercations happened occasionally at his school, it was not an everyday occurrence.
"Bullying is an issue in every school," Mr Madden said. "But the traditional impression of the big kids hiding in the corner and bashing up the little kids doesn't happen at all.
"The so-called bullying we deal with is arguments and disagreements within peer groups that falls into unpleasant behaviour. It then goes online and gets a life of its own beyond the school."
Bendigo Senior Secondary College assistant principal Kylie Hand said while bullying happened across all demographics, BSSC did not see a high rate of physical bullying.
"It happens very occasionally, but it's certainly not a serious issue for us," Mrs Hand said. "We hardly ever see physical altercations - only on very few instances.
"It's more so online bullying. We saw a spike in online or cyber bullying about 10 years ago when it first became mainstream.
"But what we're seeing in recent years is that far more young people have the confidence to call out people who are not behaving as they should.
"Our college and other schools run regular programs around the bystander effect so students have strategies to challenge behaviour they witness online that is not inclusive."
One parent told the Bendigo Advertiser her child had been repeatedly physically and verbally bullied for the past 12 months at a Bendigo secondary school.
The parent, who wanted to remain anonymous, said despite repeated complaints to the school, the principal said they did not have the authority to expel the repeat offender.
"We can't be too hard on the school if it's out of their control," the parent said. "They've suspended the student multiple times but they are consistently allowed to come back."
The woman said her child was "absolutely distraught" and a "totally different person" as a result of the bullying.
"She's not safe anymore because the physical and verbal violence is happening day in, day out," she said.
While the OECD report showed physical bullying between Australian students was on the rise, more students were reporting cases of cyber bullying.
The OECD report revealed 16 per cent of Australian principals reported a student or parent/guardian reported unwanted electronic contact among students. The OECD average was three per cent.
Mr Madden said Crusoe College had implemented a series of programs focused on online bullying.
"The number of kids who have a phone on them day-by-day is increasing," Mr Madden said. "There are more opportunities for cyber bullying to happen.
"We have a lot of programs where we address specific things that are topical to the different year levels and their understanding of social situations.
"We're trying to forewarn kids what can happen, how to respond, and how to be good online. But when it is online, our capacity to respond is much more limited."
Some students and parents are turning to intervention orders to manage bullying situations in Bendigo schools.
Mr Madden said there have been intervention orders between students at Crusoe College.
"Intervention orders are not common," he said. "We've probably dealt with two between students over the past five years."
Mrs Hand said BSSC also had experience with intervention orders.
"Occasionally there is a reason to need an intervention order but not regularly," she said. "It's not an issue for us at all."
Mrs Hand said state schools were bound by the Department of Education when it came to decisions around suspending and expelling students.
"We're only permitted to sanction if the behaviour is within school grounds," Mrs Hand said. "If it's happening outside of school grounds or not at the school, then we can't expel or suspend the student.
"But we definitely don't ignore it. We work with students to manage themselves and manage the situation."
The Victorian Department of Education would not comment on the process state schools use to deal with students who are found to be bullying other students or teachers.
The department also did not provide data on the number of bullying complaints made to schools in the Bendigo region.
The department does not collect data on the number of intervention orders in place at schools across the state.
"We take the wellbeing and safety of students in our schools extremely seriously," a department spokesperson said.
"Bullying is not tolerated in Victorian schools and all students have the right to feel safe and supported.
"Schools deliver a range of policies, programs and supports which teach students about respecting others, and how to manage conflicts if they arise."
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