The Nature of Bullying at Saints


Students celebrating Pink Shirt Day in 2015

There is no denying that bullying is a serious and relevant issue in all schools. With an ever-increasing number of avenues and platforms on which bullying can take place in the social media age, bullying awareness and prevention efforts have also increased to combat its grave effects. However, while there have been more large-scale movements against bullying, for many students, there is still a strong stigma that discourages students being bullied from admitting it to others and seeking help. This is especially true at an all-boys schools like St. Georges. Many people think that being bullied and seeking help to stop bullying are a sign and admission of weakness and vulnerability – the actions of a victim – and because students do not want to be viewed as such by their peers and teachers, acts of bullying go unnoticed and are not stopped. It is important that the entire school community works to change this perception that victims of bullying are weak so that St. Georges can become a safe environment that facilitates open and honest discussions about bullying where students can seek help without being judged.

Throughout the history of St. George’s, there have been numerous cases of bullying in all grades that have taken place online, at school, on the fields and so on. These accounts of bullying have often been perpetrated by one person or a group of individuals who intentionally target someone who they perceive to be weak. More often than not, the bullies have been reported to the authorities at St. George’s, who then deal with the disciplinary and punishment measures which often includes suspensions, apologies and acknowledgement of their deeds. The system that St. George’s uses to handle bullying when it occurs is mostly effective at making the victims feel safe again and preventing the bullies from bullying again. However, the school still has room to improve with regards to stopping bullying before it happens or before it escalates to a point where victims feel unsafe even at school. The school needs to also work towards emphasizing the intolerance that it has for bullying and establishing itself as a safe and trustworthy place which victims can rely on for help and support.

Currently, St. George’s raises awareness about the issue of bullying explicitly through anti-bullying initiatives such as Pink Shirt Day, a day when everyone in the school wears pink to stand up against bullies, and implicitly through clubs such as the Gay-Straight Alliance, which encourages acceptance of people of all kinds of sexual orientation. While these initiatives do hold significant meaning and have sent messages to the school community about anti-bullying, the school should also strive to talk about bullying more on weekly basis. Something as simple as a discussion period about the negative effects of bullying on victims and the school community during the weekly advisor periods would help to prevent more accounts of bullying. Furthermore, the school needs to give out more severe disciplinary measures to bullies to show the community that St. George’s will not tolerate these harmful acts. In order for victims to have the courage to speak out about what they are experiencing at school, they need to have confidence that the school will listen to them.

St. George’s is fortunate as a school to have the resources and tools that are necessary to combat bullying. The school boasts multiple personal counsellors and teachers that genuinely care about the wellbeing of their students; they are always available to listen to students talk about their daily problems. Furthermore, the school has a community and a student body that has the ability to work together to organize school-wide initiatives such as Pink Shirt Day and Spirit Week that communicate a strong message to the school: bullying is not tolerated in any way, shape or form. St. George’s, as a school with such a strong reputation as being a school that emphasizes character and core values, should continue to strive to eliminate bullying as much as it can so that all students can feel safe to be themselves and not have to worry about becoming victims of bullying.