Bully Busters: Be a Buddy, not a Bully!

ZOE COETZEE

The Bully Buster campaign was held at St Michael’s over a week and a few days due to classes being in quarantine. The campaignwas presented by Mrs. Marele Venter and Mrs. Natasja Rowe-Rowe and was presented to the grade 3 – 12 as well as to the parents via Zoom

Mrs. Marele Venter addressing the grade 9s in the chapel Photo Z. Coetzee

Established in 2006, the organization is well recognized for presenting talks to people all over the world. They have also worked with SMS before in 2016: this year’s Grade 9s and 11s were in for a treat, and a big round of laughs when they were surprised with videos of their assignments from Grades 4 and 6 respectively.

The programme included two sections, Bullying Basics and The Bullying Triad, and gave information that many learners found very helpful. When asked how they liked the bullying workshop there was a lot of positive feedback with Simthembile Khobotlo in Grade 9 saying, ‘I felt that the bullying workshop was a great opportunity for us to realize if we are being bullied or not. I would personally say the bully workshop was definitely not a waste of time.’

A fellow grade 9 learner, Thando Sindane, says, ‘The bullying workshop was very informative. I learned the difference between bullying and teasing, what to do when you’re being bullied as well as what to do when you witness bullying.’ She also says, ‘It’s a very good programme for both learners and parents.’

As part of the skit enatcted by the Grade 9s , showing how to be an Upstander B.Tutu is being helped by K. Masuabi

The “Bullying Basics”, include the 3 main characteristics of bullying, namely: it is repetitive; it is intentional and there is a power imbalance. The girls also learned how to be an ‘Upstander‘. Being an ‘Upstander‘ is being an active bystander that tries to stop or stops the bullying in any of the following ways. The direct approach is when the ‘upstander’ tells the bully to ‘stop it’. The two indirect ways of helping are calling an adult or someone who can stop the bully or even supporting the victim after they’ve been bullied and helping them work up the courage to go and report the bully.

During the parents’ session via everyone’s favourite online meeting platform, Zoom, (available for download) the parents were taught how to handle it if their child tells them she is being bullied. They were taught not to ask, ‘What did you do?’ but rather ‘How can I help?’ or ‘What would you like me to do about it for you?”

All in all it was helpful and highly engaging for the learners. Many questions were asked and wise, euser-friendly advice was given. The general response of the learners was of appreciation and gratitude.


In a very eye-opening session, Warrant Officer Bezuidenhout from the Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit of the South African Police Service, made the girls aware of the dangers of disclosing personal information and befriending strangers on social media.                               

If there are any questions you can find them on Facebook; username Bullybusters via Email admin@i2we.co.za or their website www.bullybusters.co.za .