While most schools do a great job of ensuring that their students feel like they’re in a safe and respectful learning environment, the scourge of bullying often finds a way to derail this perception.
Perhaps the most complex form of bullying is that which takes place online, as it can strike at any time and place.
While research shows that 20% experience cyber bullying, 65% ignore it and just 38% fight back.
In a push to empower schools to take action on this issue, the Federal Government has announced a plan to train school chaplains to combat cyberbullying so they can better identify and support students who may be the victims of online bullying.
The mandatory training for chaplains is part of the government’s $247m extension to the popular National School Chaplaincy Program.
Federal Education Minister, Dan Tehan, said the free online training would improve the support that chaplains were already providing to students in 3,000 schools.
“Our children have access to the internet 24-7 through smart phones, tablets and laptops and parents are rightly concerned about cyberbullying, with one in five Australian school children a victim,” Minister Tehan said.
“The Morrison Government has made mental health a priority and the cyberbullying training for school chaplains will help them better support our students and address bullying.”
Minister Tehan said parents can “rest assured” that chaplains, as well as teachers and school leaders, have the best tools to deal with cyberbullying.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said the training would be delivered through the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.
“The release of the training follows extensive work with the eSafety Commissioner and state and territory education departments to ensure that chaplains receive a quality training package,” Fletcher said.