Wagga was part of an Australian-first event that brought together international and national experts to combat one of the biggest issues facing schools today.
As part of the NSW anti-bullying strategy, 18 academics were taken on the road to talk with students, parents and teachers about the best way to prevent bullying early and to respond effectively.
Canadian psychology professor Wendy Craig said that bullying should be thought about as a relationship problem and it can be solved through relationship solutions.
“This is the most destructive kind of relationship and we need to create relationship based schools and classrooms,” Professor Craig said.
“We know that when kids feel cared for and feel they have a sense of belonging, then they do better academically.”
Marilyn Campbell from Queensland University of Technology asked students how adults were handling the situation wrong.
“We know from research that kids don’t tell adults, we’ve found that the bullying gets worse if they tell a teacher as there is retaliation and shame,” she said.
“Not only you’re perceived as a dobber or a nitch, but that teachers don’t understand the social bonds which are so important in the peer group.
“Half of kids will tell their parents, while the other half fear that their parents will worry or they think they will overact or underact.
“I want to know what their peers do because that’s who they’re going to tell and how they want their parents to act,” she said.