TACKLING TEENS: Madonna King has written a book about the challenges faced by 14-year-old-girls.
TACKLING TEENS: Madonna King has written a book about the challenges faced by 14-year-old-girls. Contributed

Bullying taskforce reveals heartbreaking reality in schools

'HAZINESS' about school responsibilities and "bystander behaviour" among peers were among the most revealing findings of the Queensland Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce.

Mother of two and taskforce chair Madonna King said she was heartbroken to hear the phrase "snitches get stitches" uttered in Queensland schools.

"So many kids are aware of a peer being bullied but won't step in because they fear that they will be the next target," Ms King said.

"If we actually walk past behaviour we accept it. We need to teach kids really early that bad behaviours need to be called out."

Ms King said she hoped the 29 recommendations delivered in September would prompt combined action from schools, parents and technology giants such as Google and Facebook.

She said there was confusion in the education system about who was responsibilities for handling cases of bullying in various cases.

"I have a great deal of sympathy for many schools that are trying to do a job but without the procedures that wrap around that," she said.

A Department of Education spokeswoman said Stanthorpe State High School had clear processes in place to deal with any incidents of bullying.

"The Queensland Government has pledged $3.5 million to protect young Queenslanders and implement the recommendations from the Queensland Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce," she said.

Recommendations for schools:

The continuation for schools, in consultation with parents, to determine student access to mobile phones.

Providing guidance on the scope of school responsibilities in relation to cyberbullying

Standardised, documented processes that schools use to respond to incidents of bullying and cyberbullying, including contact details of relevant staff, time frames, possible consequences and available support

Ms King said the taskforce also recommended the department investigate the potential for appointing an independent ombudsman to handle high-level complaints surrounding bullying.

If you or someone you know need help, 24/7 support is available. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, or visit kidshelpline.com.au



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