Otumoetai College students are among the thousands of people throughout New Zealand adorning pink shirts today in an effort to fight bullying.
Today the Pink Shirt is a symbol of power in the fight against bullying, urging people to stop and think about bullying, those affected and what is causing it.
Otumoetai College students Isaiah Duncanson, Jacques Glover, Annie Freeman, Kelcy Ballantyne and Emily Farron.
Bullying is a growing issue in schools as the number of students using technology like Facebook and texting to bully their peers, according to the Government.
Justice Minister Judith Collins announced last week the Government is fast-tracking a Law Commission report, which looks at ways of reducing the harm caused by cyber-bullying.
The report investigates potential law changes, including introducing a new offence of maliciously impersonating another person on the internet.
Otumoetai College Year 10 student Kelcy Ballantyne says Facebook and texting is causing a proliferation in bullying – at home and in the school yard.
She says the problem is when bullying occurs outside the school grounds teachers have no power to stop it.
Pink Shirt Day supports anti-bullying. Photos by Tracy Hardy.
“It’s definitely is an issue for people who get bullied a lot.”
Pink Shirt Day also corresponds with the Ministry of Education’s efforts to give principals the power to confiscate phones, laptops and digital devices.
Tauranga Boys’ College principal Robert Mangan says he supports the proposed law changes and welcomes the extra power to seize student’s digital devices if bullying is suspected.
“I think any tools a school can get to help manage the issue better is a good idea.
“If they’re bringing that technology to school I think that’s a condition they should accept.”
Tauranga Girls’ College principal Pauline Cowens says having the power to check and seize students’ phones is useful, but parents also need to take responsibility for their children’s use of the technology.