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Address from the Principal

posted 11 Mar 2017, 17:32 by Vanessa Watson   [ updated 30 Apr 2017, 22:43 by Nick Meissel ]

Kia ora koutou,

 Not long ago there were a few comments in the social media about bullying at our school so now is a good time to raise this issue in the newsletter.

 Firstly, bullying takes place in all schools and Westland High School is no different.  We do not condone bullying at our school nor do we tolerate it outside of the school.  We always take allegations of bullying seriously and every incident of bullying is investigated and recorded.  We encourage all students who are bullied or who witness bullying to report it to a teacher or another adult.

 As a restorative school our goal is to find permanent and long lasting resolutions to bullying by getting all parties to understand each other better, to see each other's point of view and get on with each other in the future.  That is not always easy to achieve, can take a lot of time and sometimes we don't achieve that goal.  In which case, we need to provide other solutions and consequences.

 Restorative processes will often involve students and whanau from both sides and it is very important that we have the full support of the community to help us to minimise bullying at the school.  Just as we encourage students to report bullying as soon as possible after it has happened we need our parents, caregivers and whanau to do the same.  Delays in reporting bullying always make it harder to resolve.  Please do not keep bullying to yourselves.  If you do not report it you guarantee that it will not get resolved.  Please encourage you sons and daughters to report bullying whether they are the victim or a witness.

When witnesses report bullying to teachers we can often intervene before it reaches more serious stages.  Please, also remember that there are many forms of bullying and these include spreading rumours, ignoring or isolating people, calling people names, using power to make people feel bad, cyber bullying, physical assault, telling lies about people. The list is endless.

 Another important issue is about how students respond to bullying.  Violence or bullying back are never good responses to bullying and neither is taking sides.  It is very important that we encourage students whether they are being bullied or whether they are observers not get involved in ways that make it worse.  Encouraging people to fight, taking sides or ganging up will escalate matters and only makes things more difficult to resolve. It can also be helpful when people write about incidents on social media because they can distort the truth by making false allegations and inflame situations making them harder to resolve.  We can only make decisions in school that are based upon reliable and accurate evidence and sometimes this is much harder when comments have been made on social media.

 So, my message to everyone is to report bullying as soon as you can so that it can be resolved.  Do not take sides and do not escalate matters in any way.  We have worked hard at having staff visible whilst on break or lunchtime duties in key areas where bullying takes place and currently things are calmer. My expectation for teachers is to respond to all allegations of bullying.  That means dealing with it or passing it on.  Our teachers are passionate about our school and they are all very caring and will always do their best to find ways to resolve bullying situations.  However, with the best will in the world our attempts to resolve issues don't always work, in which case we try different strategies until we do find a solution. 

 We all want our school to be a safe place for everyone and we all have a role to play.  We need to encourage our students to treat everyone with respect, to be inclusive and how to deal with problems in ways that maintain everyone's mana.  Observing our two core values of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga ensure that this will happen.

 On a more positive note I have been approached by two groups of students who are interested in playing an active role to help reduce bullying at the school and we have already discussed some ideas about how we might achieve this.  Mr. Meissel is also interested in working with the community to help address bullying in the school and community and he has organized a meeting on Thursday next week.  If you are interested in being part of this group could you contact him by email. People who step up and commit to initiatives like this can have a huge impact in a school and I am excited by these kinds of proposals because of their potential to impact across the whole community in a sustainable way. 

Toki Pounamu

 We are currently experiencing some unforeseen issue with our chromebooks delivery which are beyond our control.  Please accept my sincere apologies for this.  we are doing everything that we can and we hope to have them at the end of next week.

 Congratulations

 Finally, congratulations to our students for some fantastic events recently.  Firstly, congratulations to Ms Bateup, all the staff and all of the students for making athletics day such an awesome event.  We had great weather, a fantastic turn out (students and parents) and a truly amazing event.  Well done everyone. 

 We have also had lots of other events where our students have behaved impeccably including the presentation on alcohol and the teenage brain by Nathan Makaire-Wallis, swimming sports and the ugly Shakespeare company. Our touch teams did well recently in their first tournament with the girls coming first and the boys coming second.  Well done to everyone.  We are all so proud of you.

 Head Girl and Head Boy

 We have recently had our election for Head Girl and Head Boy.  After a very close vote the results are as follows:

 Head girl                             Ellie Pearson                           Head boy                                 Mitchell Robinson

 Deputy head girl               Laura Jones                             Deputy head boy                  Rhys McAuliffe

 Thank you to everyone who put their name forward for this and well done to Ellie, Mitchell, Laura and Rhys.  This is a very important role for the school and I am sure you will all do admirably.  I look forward to working with you.

Nga mihi nui,

Trevor Jones.

 


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