Take Action Together – “Bullying, NO WAY!”

This week the focus at Cardijn College has been our support for the national action against bullying and violence. Today students and staff gathered on the oval to say “NO WAY” to bullying and violence, as we demonstrated our stance as a school. The issue of harassment, bullying and violence of any kind has been a headline topic across our nation with the March4Justice events sending a clear message that “Enough is enough.” The movement is calling for an end to gendered violence and for change in the workplace as well as the political and criminal justice systems to respond to appropriately to these acts.

Australia is a first-world country – often referred to as “The Lucky Country.” Every person should feel safe in our community and governments, leaders and all those who hold some form of power and responsibility in organisations and workplaces, including schools, must stand up and be counted.

There is no question in my mind that any change must also begin with deep social change, including education and a collective responsibility with children as they grow and form their own identities and attitudes towards these issues.
Fundamentally we still have significant issues and attitudes in our community which involve gendered attitudes towards women, racism, poor treatment and attitudes to those who are marginalised either through circumstance or through health and disability. As leaders we need to stand our ground and say “Enough is enough” to any form of violence, harassment or bullying.

There is a vast amount of research in this area spanning decades. This problem is not a new one but an ongoing challenge for as long as I can remember. What we do know is that there are many different perspectives on this in our community, depending on what lens you look through. As an educator, leader, father and grandfather, I can tell you that the one thing that keeps me up at night and causes me the most stress is being confronted with these issues. When I hear about this, I feel sick in my gut and feel every pain and hurt suffered by those who are victims and their parents. I am saddened by the fact that this happens even in our own community in a context where we uphold and stand by our Christian values and beliefs. How is it possible for this type of behaviour to even occur? But it happens!

Our job is to create a better understanding of the prevailing factors which influence these attitudes and behaviours to ensure that our policies and procedures are robust, well-understood and implemented. That we are respectful and supportive of anyone who reports any form of bullying, harassment or violence. That we create a better culture through greater student agency and leadership which leads to a deeper commitment of shared concern and action. I am very proud of the Cardijn College students across our campuses for their action to saying “NO” to violence, bullying and harassment and to be open for further student action which leads to students thriving in their school.

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

2 comments on “Take Action Together – “Bullying, NO WAY!”

  1. Carol Tasker

    I wish this was up and running a few years ago when my daughter was made out to be manipulative when she was being badly bullied! Maybe the teachers need to know how to deal with it!


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