Reflection on harassment and violence – education and action for a better world
I was reflecting over the weekend that our school is the calmest and most tranquil school in which I have worked. Our classrooms are quiet, our teachers speak, don’t shout and our students are respectful, kind, caring and thoughtful, about both themselves and others. Exceptions happen but they are few and generally very low key. This is a far cry from schools of the past and shows that our community is both a caring one and reflects the environment we would like our young people to find when they leave us to move out into the world.
In sombre contrast to this are the recent media reports of social media used to demean women, the abhorrent rise of ‘one punch’ street violence and repeated violence against women. These behaviours are saddening elements of our modern life and while they provide an enormous contrast to the culture of our school, we need to ensure that our students take our culture out to the world and not accept those anti-social elements of modern culture. To sustain the values and behaviours we see from our students on a day to day basis, we must be clear on our position on such behaviours – they are just not acceptable, not at Tintern, not anywhere.
Sadly, it is difficult to see anti-social behaviour in society disappearing in the near future. This means we must be even more committed to building and sustaining a steadfastness in our young men and women that all forms of violence are unacceptable in schools and in homes and as communities we need to tackle this together. Cyber violence and harassment is one of the most significant challenges of our modern times and physical violence is an absolute blight on our society. With our students, we will continue to reinforce that it will not solve their problems, and that ‘right through might’ is not accepted in our, or any, healthy community. In our school, cyber or physical violence must continue to be absolutely unacceptable.
The twin aims of schools are learning and growth. Older or younger, we all make mistakes and good schools are places where we help and support our young people to learn from mistakes and become better people through that learning. We need to be able to find the heart to understand and forgive them when their reflections are accompanied by acknowledgment of mistake and a commitment to do better in the future.
At Tintern, we will continue to be philosophically guided by our Tintern Compass while we deliver, review and improve our in and out of class programs in all areas of the school that educate our community’s online and ‘offline’ behaviour and citizenship. We are committed to fostering in our students an understanding of and a commitment to being a good community member online as well as in person.
These are significant challenges for schools. We must scaffold understanding and skills to support the attributes of appreciation of others and self-awareness that our students possess and at the same time we need to strike a balance between understanding and forgiveness and consistent reinforcement of the unacceptability of anti-social or violent behaviour. As a community we must promote more effective, more contemporary and less primitive ways to solve problems and disputes than resorting to any form of violence.
Factis non Verbis
Please view the Video Blog below from our Principal, Mr Bradley Fry.