Marching against bullying
One in four Kiwi kids are bullied at school.
Out of the 51 countries rated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Latvia is the only country with a higher rate of bullying than New Zealand; that’s more than double the average.
Depression and anxiety are the results of bullying, which also leads to students skipping classes and dropping out.
With those statistics in mind, the Clutha District’s first Pink Shirt Day march will be held at Balclutha on May 18 at 12.30pm.
Pink-clad South Otago High School pupils will take to the main street to be part of the annual national anti-bullying initiative.
The event is being coordinated by Balclutha police and school communities officer Constable Rochelle Gordon.
‘‘It is to raise awareness for everyone that passes that corner that bullying is a big problem and everyone has a role to play in helping reduce it and to encourage those to speak out about it.’’
It is a cause close to Gordon’s heart. She has personal experience of being bullied as a young officer in Scotland.
She was hassled by another officer on a daily basis.
‘‘I had a guy who used to bully me because I wouldn’t drink tea or coffee.’’
It may have seemed a minor incident, but it had a cumulative effect as bullying tends to do.
She didn’t do anything about it but it was resolved because her colleagues saw what was happening and intervened.
Gordon stressed that bullying did not just happen in schools, but anywhere.
‘‘It’s as simple as ‘see something, do something’.’’
Stuff reporter Adele Redmond has written a six-part series Sticks and Stones that explores issues around school bullying.