29 July 2016

Why everyone should stand up for ‘the most unpopular kid at school

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Have we not come further in Australia’s school system? How come bullies are allowed to continue bullying, while the bullied are the ones who have to make changes?

Why are Australian schools so slow on the uptake? Why is it so hard to stand up for the bullied and punish the bullies? When even our own Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has revealed that he was bullied in school as a kid, why isn’t more being done?

Queensland girl Tayla Sekhmet’s heartbreaking story shows exactly how painful it is to be bullied at school, and why more has to be done to stop it. Tayla experienced severe bullying at a daily basis, and despite several efforts to try and get the teachers and education department to step in, Tayla’s situation didn’t improve and she was told to “just ignore these people”. Eventually Tayla and her mother Kali took the matter in their own hands and created an online petition.

I'm the most unpopular kid at school and people make my life a living hell,” writes 12-year-old Tayla on her petition.

“Every day people call me fatso, weirdo, ugly, freak, and tell me I should kill myself,” she continues.

So far more than 100,000 people have signed the petition. 

Another example of Australian schools’ poor management of bullies is the case of nine-year-old Jamieson Reid. He was waiting at the Queensland school’s pick-up area when another, bigger child attacked him.

His parents watched on in horror from the car as the kid grabbed their son around the throat and hit him in the head three times before a staff member intervened, his mother Jessie told Kidspot.

Not only did Jamieson have to suffer bullying from other students, the school also suspended him over the incident.

Kaila Mackay, a 16-year-old girl from, Finley, NSW, took a stance against Australia’s dairy industry. She took to YouTube, explaining to her viewers why she chooses not to consume dairy products. The residents of Finley, which is a small dairy farming town, reacted strongly to her video, which was published at the height of a nationwide campaign for Australians to buy more milk.

After publishing the video, Kaila was bombarded with abusive comments from students at her own school as well as nearby schools. Some of the comments urged Kaila to “kill herself” and “drown in milk”.

Her stepfather approached the school, concerned about the bullying Kaila had to endure, and was recommended that she would be better off at a TAFE institute, where there were “other non-mainstream students,” he told Buzzfeed News.

Since sharing her story with the media, Kaila has also received a lot of support and positive comments.

Why is it so hard for our schools, their teachers and executives, to fight bullying harder? Why is it so hard to take a stance against the bullies and provide better support for the bullied?

Get your priorities right and do better!

Mimmie grew up in Sweden and first came to Australia as a backpacker after high school. After travelling around the country for two years she returned to Europe and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in London. But the longing for Australia and the sun became too strong. After having worked for some time in the media industry, Mimmie decided to make a change and swap the news for conferences. She now gets to do what she loves the most, meeting new people and keep learning about cultures and issues while producing conferences on current topics.

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