Kooringal High to pilot new anti-bullying program

SENIOR students at Kooringal High have welcomed news that they will be one of 10 schools in the state to pilot the appointment of a new anti-bullying role.The NSW government last week released the names of the 10 schools to trial the appointment of a student support officer - a role designed to curb bullying and connect young people having difficulties with appropriate support services.According to Kooringal High principal, Glyn Leyshon, the school was chosen to test the initiative because it has already included a similar role in the last 18 months, creating an internship for Charles Sturt University (CSU) social work students.But according to four of the school's year 11 and 12 students, more can be done to stamp out bullying, particularly cyber-bullying."It doesn't happen much at school, it's more online through Facebook, social networking sites and text messaging," year 12 student Talissa Crouch said of bullying at the school.Even then, according to Erin Archer, 17, Jaiden McKelson, 16, and Brad Callaghan, 16, most of the students grow out of bullying in all forms in their final years at high school."I think the year 8s and 9s will benefit from (the new position) the most because they attack each other a lot more," said Brad.Mr Leyshon played down the need for a major focus on bullying at Kooringal High and was more excited about the broader role the student support officer will play."It allows you as a school to do some critical thinking of what's important in your school," he said.Meanwhile, Wagga crime manager, Detective Inspector Rod Smith, has backed another government initiative to crack down on cyber bullying, with legislation to restrict the use of Facebook to over-18s being mooted.Wagga police have been involved in attempting to shut down a number of Facebook pages recently, including the controversial "Wagga Goss".

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