Tom Quinn Centre youth coordinator Nellie Josey displays booklets created by bullies who participated in the Be Strong bullying prevention program.
Tom Quinn Centre youth coordinator Nellie Josey displays booklets created by bullies who participated in the Be Strong bullying prevention program. Scottie Simmonds

School bullies reveal motives

AN anti-bullying program targeting both victims and offenders has been dubbed a huge success at Bundaberg High School.

The five-week course run by Salvation Army Tom Quinn Centre youth co-ordinator Nellie Josey delved into the minds of nine identified bullies to see what made them tick.

The offenders spent just over a month learning what made them a bully, why they did it, how they thought their victims felt, and how to stop their bad behaviour.

Mrs Josey said she was proud of the group's progress, especially when some of the students had never perceived themselves as the bad guys.

“I had one boy who never knew he was a bully,” Mrs Josey said.

“He just thought he was standing up for himself and it made a big impact for him to find out he was perceived as a bully. He didn't realise how horrible he had been to himself and to others.”

Mrs Josey said the bullies admitted things that made them target others included fights at home and pent-up aggression.

“Some said they had lost friends, made kids cry, and got bad reputations from being the bully,” she said.

The youth co-ordinator said through the program, both the bullies and victims had identified what determined their role.

“The victims learned about confidence and how to identify how they were feeling,” she said.

“There was also a significant change in the bullies, who realised how their victims felt and they showed a significant amount of empathy.”

Mrs Josey said while she did not claim the program would completely wipe out bullying, it was a good place to start.

“To say it will stop altogether would be a bit optimistic, but we're certainly on the right path,” she said.

Mrs Josey said she hoped the program could be expanded into other schools in the region.

“I'm thrilled with the program and very proud of the kids,” she said.

“This is a really down-to-earth and realistic look at bullying.

“I hope it takes off in other schools.”



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