Sadly, within days of Te Awamutu College joining the community to observe the anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day, another incident, shared on social media, has come to light.
It has prompted more online complaints about how the issue is being handled.
Last week college principal Tony Membery spoke to the Te Awamutu News about how social media “myths” did not help the situation at his school. He also spoke of the steps being taken to counter bullying.
He could have simply declined to comment on the issue. He chose to front up to it. He spoke of the Monday morning “spill over” at school prompted by weekend social media posts.
Our headline quoting “social media myths” was unfairly interpreted in some quarters to suggest Membery considered the entire issue to be a myth. Other posts following our lead story last week were dripping with sarcasm.
There is no question that the college has been confronted by a bullying problem –often fuelled by online comments made by students about other students.
Membery and his staff are clearly facing a difficult situation. It is also clear that in many cases they are blindsided when incidents are given oxygen on social media platforms and not reported to the school.
Parents and guardians cannot be blamed for being frustrated. Who would not be angered to have to deal with a bullying issue?
What is needed is constructive communication so that all adults can be part of the solution.
That is not a stage the community has reached.