Outside Glenmore State High School in Rockhampton.
Outside Glenmore State High School in Rockhampton.

Ambos attend CQ school twice as bullies attack

IN the last fortnight, there has been at least two ambulance call outs and a lockdown at Glenmore State School in response to serious bullying incidents.

In the wake of recent incidents, Glenmore State High School students will take part in "resilience" and "anti-bullying" programs.

On February 14, an 11-year-old girl was assessed by paramedics after being "jumped on" and "grabbed by the neck" during an "altercation".

Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics treated the young girl on scene, and she was not taken to hospital.

Last Thursday, a concerned family member of another student reached out to The Morning Bulletin.

She said another young student was "coward punched" in the eye and was treated by paramedics.

He complained of a painful cheek and had to have checks to make sure it wasn't broken.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous also said the school was sent into lockdown during a separate incident a week earlier.

"Where do we go from here and what do we do?" she asked.

"These are kids (victims) that are just starting high school. The child has to go to school - the victim and the one responsible for the attack. It's just such a sad situation."

A boy was suspended for a week over the incident.

The Queensland Department of Education was contacted by The Morning Bulletin once last week after the initial incident, but the inquiry was left unanswered.

The Department was contacted again after the most recent incidents came to light, and late last Friday, a response was finally received.

Due to "student privacy issues", the DOE said it was not able to detail exactly what had happened during each of the incidents.

A spokeswoman said Glenmore State School and Glenmore State High School would continue to promote safe and respectful interactions between students.

"Any situation that ­threatens the safety and ­wellbeing of students, staff or others in the school community is treated extremely seriously, and dealt with as a matter of priority," the spokesman said.

"Glenmore State High School students who are ­involved in physical incidents are dealt with in line with the school's Responsible ­Behaviour Plan for Students.

"The school will continue to offer support and counselling to any students involved and for as long as needed."

The Department said the school was rolling out an ­anti-bullying and resilience ­program with students.

CQUniversity's Psychology and Public Health department head Associate Professor Karena Burke said building resilience in schools won't necessarily curb bullying behaviour in schools but may help victims cope more effectively.

"Bullying is a huge issue. Current estimates are that one in four students in Australian schools are bullied frequently - frequently is considered to be 'every few weeks' or more," she said.

"I would suggest that in Rockhampton, a one size fits all resilience program is not going to achieve good results across all of the schools.

"It is good to note that the Department has indicated both anti-bullying and resilience programs are going to be 'shared' - although the term shared is a strange one to use in this context too."

Assc Prof Burke said 'Socio-emotional' learning programs targeting character development were more effective among younger students than adolescents.

Such programs include physical education, martial arts, and contemplative practices like yoga or mindfulness.

According to Assc Prof Burke, long term impacts of bullying can be vast for both the victim and the aggressor.

"For the child bullied: Depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation and completion, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, pessimistic life orientation, eating disorders, obesity, sleeping problems, substance use/misuse, alcohol use, drug use. The more frequent, longer term and severity of the bullying, the worse the psychological, physical and social outcomes," she said.

"For the bully: a lot of the same issues as for the child being bullied. These students are also more likely to continue to be aggressive and violent into adulthood.

"Research evidence suggests that the bullying behaviours stem from the student feeling insecure, anxious and having low self-esteem. It can also be an outcome of intergenerational violence."

Assc Prof Burke said broader environment of the school and the community should be considered when approaching the issue.

"Things such as having a breakfast club, so all students actually start the day having eaten, can actually have a substantial impact on creating a positive school and classroom environment," she said.

The source said the child involved in the second attack was faring "quite well" but his family must now constantly wonder "is this going to happen again".

Just over two years ago, 14-year-old NT girl Amy 'Dolly' Everett, described by family as "happy-go-lucky", took her own life as a result of alleged bullying, which sparked the #stopbullyingnow and #doitfordolly awareness campaigns.

The Glenmore incidents come almost directly in the wake of the horrific footage of a tearful Qauden Bayles, who has dwarfism, after being bullied at school.

The footage shook Australians and has since inspired widespread anti-bullying rhetoric around the nation - but for some, the message obviously isn't getting through.

Need to talk to someone?
Don't go it alone. Please reach out for help.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au

Headspace: 1800 650 890 or headspace.org.au


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