This week the School has been participating in Anti-Bullying Week, the focus of this year’s campaign is ‘choose respect’ and we have held several events across the School to celebrate this message. On Wednesday we held Odd Socks day, where pupils were encouraged to wear extravagant odd socks in celebration of their differences. Today, pupils held a very successful blue cake sale, where they sold a wide range of delicious ‘blue’ cakes and cupcakes; all the money raised will be donated to the Anti-Bullying Alliance.
Also, throughout the week pupils have been attending Anti-Bullying Chapel Services. Lower Sixth Pupil, Yasmin A (Weymouth) prepared the words below which she, alongside three other pupils read out during the service:
“Firstly, we need to understand what respect actually means. Respect is defined as ‘due regard for someone’s feelings, wishes or rights’ and can be divided into two key points: Respecting yourself and respecting others. To respect yourself you must BELIEVE in yourself. You must have confidence and not put yourself down. You must recognise your mistakes, but also celebrate your achievements. You must be honest with and strive to be the best version of yourself that you can be. You must stand up for what you believe in.
To respect others, you must ask yourself: ‘Am I treating other people the same way I want to be treated? ‘How do my words and actions have an impact on others?’ ‘Can I truly listen to another person’s point of view, even when I don’t agree with them?’
To be respectful also means to be mindful of people’s differences – the Mill Hill School Foundation is an incredibly diverse community. We all have different hobbies and talents. We all come from different countries, and we have different backgrounds and cultures. We all look different. To truly respect each other, we all need to understand how to celebrate this diversity. Similarly, we may have different political opinions or religious beliefs. We won’t always agree with what other people say or be best friends with everybody, but we can choose how we act in these situations. We should never resort to violence or personal insults – instead, we can choose to respectfully disagree with each other. Everyone’s values and opinions are equally important and everyone’s voice deserves to be heard.
As well as respecting each other face-to-face, we need to choose respect when using social media. Yesterday was Stop, Speak, Support Day for Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying continues to be a significant issue for people our age today – a recent national bullying survey has shown that, in the last two months, 1 in 5 teenagers in England have experienced cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can be relentless – it doesn’t end when you walk out of the school gates. Social media has allowed bullying to continue after school ends and can make people feel unsafe everywhere they go, even in their homes. Those who are cyberbullied are more likely to be depressed, anxious and lonely in the future. Think before you post a mean comment or share an inappropriate video. We need to do more to stop bullying online, and every one of us can play a part in making social media a more positive and safe platform.”