Over the past fortnight, I have spent some time in the Year 5 and 6 classrooms talking to the students about expectations around attitude and behaviour. I must say, that on the whole, I was very impressed with the quality of their responses and most of them are displaying excellent leadership qualities and great personal values. One word that came up a few times was ‘Bully’. I asked the students if they actually knew what the two conditions were that had to be in place before you can say you were being bullied. Quite a few knew the correct response, which is 1. it must occur repeatedly over a period of time and 2. there must be an imbalance of power. For example, if we had students in the same year level having an argument in a game of soccer and it leads to a person being pushed over and getting hurt, it is not bullying. It is poor behaviour and making bad choices (which are still not acceptable), but it is not bullying. However, if a Year 6 students was hurting a Year 4 student in soccer games over a couple of weeks, then it is bullying as it occurs over a period of time and there is a difference in size and age. Once we clarified this point, I asked the students if they thought we had much bullying at Mary MacKillop. Just about all students said that we didn’t. I can also assure you, that I have worked in eight schools over the years, and the behaviour here is some of the best I have seen, and we don’t have a lot of issues with our students compared to what I have seen elsewhere. Like any other school, we have a few incidences of poor behaviour and decision making, which are dealt with swiftly by the staff. We also focus on what is known as restorative justice. This means practising forgiveness, fixing the problem and restoring the friendships so the students can move on and be friends again. If you ever want a good example of restorative justice, please read Like 23:34 (have a look at my Lenten reflection below).