Bullying: My Personal Story
People often ask me how I came to do what I do, why Anti-Bullying Workshops for Primary Schools?
It is often difficult for me to think about my experiences at school. It was a hard time for me, just as it is for over half of students in the UK who will experience bullying at some point during their time at school.
What I find remarkable, is that Anti-Bullying, was never spoken about once when I was at school. We never had any education on what to do if you need help, and how you should treat other people.
It seems obvious, right? If you need help you speak to a trusted adult, and we should always treat other people with kindness and respect.
The point is, if we are never taught this, how do we know?
I experienced heavy bullying at school for being different, I have Alopecia Totalis, an
auto-immune condition that caused all of my hair to fall out when I was one years old. I have worn wigs since I was five, and throughout my time at school would often find myself tactically placing my back against a wall, or asking to be seated at the back of the classroom, so people couldn’t get behind me and pull my wig off.
There is a particular incident I will always remember. I was in Year Ten, out on break when another student started causing me problems. They were saying very derogatory, unkind things about me, and proceeded to take my belongings. I arrived at my next lesson without my bag, but managed to still have my wig intact.
Fortunately, someone had seen what had been happening and reported it to a teacher, but nothing was done until the end of the day, when I walked out of the school gates, and a Senior Member of Staff said, “If you have any more problems, just let me know.”
Nothing was done about this incident, and nothing was said. I walked around the school for the rest of the year with this student making remarks at me and trying to make me feel bad about myself.
Fortunately, I had a good family who did everything they could to keep me safe, and wouldn’t take excuses for an answer.
It seems so strange now, that this incident was allowed to take place. The school’s bullying policy was never once brought to our attention, and there were no consequences.
Now, things appear to be much better, with Anti-Bullying Week being celebrated across the country each year in November. This year’s theme “Choose Respect” really resonates with me, as I often felt disrespected for being different.
It’s important that we make “Anti-Bullying” a whole school event. It shows students that they have the choice on how they behave, and it also allows them to set their own expectations as to how the whole school should behave too.
At OpenView Education, we run Anti-Bullying Workshops for Primary Schools that focus on celebrating difference, and always behaving with respect. We also use role-play to train the students on what they can do if they see a bullying situation, and how they can be an Upstander and look out for the other students in their school.
By making “Anti-Bullying” a whole school event, and bringing it to the forefront of everyone’s minds, the whole school will work as a team to ensure that everyone is treated with respect.
So make sure you book an Anti-Bullying workshop with us for your primary school students this Anti-Bullying Week, and you’ll be able to see for yourself the wonderful difference and positive impact it will have on your school.