Anti-bully pro­gram worth a try

Wanneroo Times - - News - Lau­ren Pi­lat

HEAR­ING the words ‘I wish I was dead’ com­ing from a child’s mouth is unimag­in­able and the most painfully heart­break­ing thing for any par­ent to hear.

For Alexan­der Heights res­i­dent Fraser Griggs, those words were the driv­ing force for him to es­tab­lish P2S Rug­by­works to help stop chil­dren from be­ing bul­lies or be­com­ing vic­tims of bul­ly­ing like his 11-year-old daugh­ter was.

Erin Griggs, who had to move schools be­cause it got so bad, de­scribed be­ing bul­lied as “ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble”.

“I tried to deal with it on my own but I was just a wreck, I didn’t cope with it very well and I just cried ev­ery day,” she said.

“The bul­lies made me feel so alone and so unim­por­tant and un­no­ticed; it made me feel so sad, like I had just been stepped on over and over again.

“I did not cope well at all. I just wanted to stay home and not go any­where and was def­i­nitely not my­self.”

Erin said she kept the bul­ly­ing a se­cret for about a month be­fore telling her mum, but wished she had asked for help straight away be­cause it “tore” her apart.

Mr Griggs said there was a feel­ing of be­ing “pow­er­less to pro­tect your child from the abuse”.

“Hav­ing seen my 10-yearold daugh­ter sub­jected to a hor­rific year of psy­cho­log­i­cal bul­ly­ing at our lo­cal pri­mary school, I was amazed to see how seem­ingly pow­er­less the school claimed to be in such mat­ters when it was sim­ply her word against the word of the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor,” he said.

“To have my daugh­ter say ‘I wish I was dead’ at bed­time af­ter an­other trau­matic day was heart­break­ing.

“It is easy to blame the bully, but kids of­ten grow up in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances and hav­ing met the par­ents of the boy in­volved, I could cer­tainly re­late to the ‘you are what you’re ex­posed to’ mantra.”

P2S Rug­by­works is a longterm life skills de­vel­op­ment pro­gram fo­cused on re­turn­ing marginalised young peo­ple back into sus­tain­able education, train­ing and em­ploy­ment.

Mr Griggs said the pro­gram worked with young peo­ple to give them life skills to seize op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The pro­gram is based on the val­ues of rugby union and pro­vides a fun en­vi­ron­ment in which they can de­velop to rein­te­grate with their com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

Based on the Dal­laglio Rug­by­Works pro­gram in the UK, P2S Rug­by­works has six coaches who have run two pi­lot ses­sions at Alta-1 in Merriwa and aims to help at least 250 young peo­ple this year.

En­tirely self-funded, Mr Griggs has launched a GoFundMe cam­paign at gby­works.

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