Federal Labor is today marking the fifth National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence by putting the spotlight on groups particularly vulnerable to bullying in our schools, calling on the Federal Government to provide the needs-based school funding model required to give schools the best chance of creating inclusive, safe environments for all students.

We know that particular groups are more vulnerable to bullying. This is another reason that needs-based school funding is so important – it gives extra resources to create inclusive academic and social environments. 

Labor believes that five years after the first National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence it is important to focus discussion and understanding on the groups identified to be particularly vulnerable to bullying at school -indigenous children, children with a disability, disadvantaged children, LGBTI children and young people, and children who have experienced homelessness. 

Shadow Minister for Education and Early Childhood, Kate Ellis, said that Labor believes schools just aren’t about academic success, schools are also about creating an environment in which children can flourish and grow. 

“Today, we take a stand together and tell students and school communities that it is not acceptable to turn a blind eye and that we cannot ignore the insidious effects of bullying,” Ms Ellis said. 

“In government, Labor was committed to eliminating all forms of bullying. Labor established a Safe Schools Hub as a one-stop shop of information and resources to ensure schools, parents and specialists who provide support to students had the resources they needed to ensure safe and supportive environments. But we know that there is much more that needs to be done. And we need to acknowledge that groups more vulnerable to bullying require the extra support of a Federal needs-based school funding system.” 

“Each year, more than 300 children and young people under 24 take their own life. That’s the equivalent of around 12 classrooms of children. We know, that young victims of bullying, including cyber-bulling, may be at increased risk of suicide. The effects of bullying can be devastating; eroding confidence, identity and sense of security in the world. 

“Labor extends the hand of bipartisanship to the Government in doing whatever we can to stamp out the scourge of bullying in our schools, but we hope they acknowledge the role of a Federal needs-based school funding system in providing support to these vulnerable groups and come to the table to support Gonski.”