ON A MISSION: Make Bullying History Foundation founders Brett and Terrisa Murray at Chaffey Secondary College yesterday.

By VINNIE RODI

CHAFFEY Secondary College has taken a stand against bullying this week, playing host to renowned education group the Make Bullying History Foundation.

The school facilitated a series of workshops and forums yesterday in a bid to better educate students, and those across the region, about what bullying is, while also arming participants with the tools to combat bullying.

The region’s teachers also had the chance to engage with the highly-acclaimed program at a special session yesterday afternoon, before Foundation representatives held a community forum last night.

The Make Bullying History Foundation’s successful and powerful bullying education program discusses what bullying is, why people bully, the impacts of bullying, understanding self-worth, developmental stages of the teenage brain, positive decision-making, cyber safety, personal vision and goal-setting.

The Foundation was founded by Brett Murray, a five-time nominee for Australian of the Year, and Terrisa Murray, who is also a former Australian of the Year nominee, Parramatta Citizen of the year runner-up and Western Sydney Business Woman of the West finalist.

THE Foundation also has a focus on bringing an end to family violence across the country, with the Make Bully History team presenting to Red Cliffs Secondary College students on Wednesday.

The ‘Know Your Worth’ sessions focused on family violence, with Brett saying the group was keen to partner with other schools, community groups and even Mildura Rural City Council to better spread its anti-bullying and anti-family violence messages.

According to Brett and Terrisa, research has shown that what teenagers are focused on, they gravitate towards, with the pair’s aim to educate, inspire, impact and mobilise audiences to end bullying and family violence, while also empowering people to fulfil their potential, gain leadership skills, build resilience and live their dreams.

Chaffey SC principal, Graeme Forrester, said he was excited to be hosting the renowned pair, and help bring the Foundation’s message to the region.

“From our point of view it’s a chance to make a stand on this issue, which is a huge issue right across the nation,” he said. “It’s also a chance to give something back to the community.

“The word ‘bullying’, unfortunately, isn’t well understood. Bullying is when it becomes targeted, ongoing, personal – it’s not a one-off.

“We want our students, teachers and the wider community to come away from this program with an understanding of the word, while also giving our students the tools to deal with the issue.

“Unfortunately bullying is prevalent in all facets of life, and most people have encountered it, including myself. We want to give our students the confidence to turn around and say, ‘No, I don’t want to be treated like this’.”

Mr Forrester said he had come across the Make Bullying History Foundation through numerous contacts, saying the group’s reputation and success made them “a no-brainer” to engage.

“All the feedback has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s a program that appears to work, and we’re very excited and feel very lucky to have Brett and Terrisa presenting to our students.”

BRETT said the pair found their work “inspiring”, saying the message they wanted to leave with students and the wider community was one of hope and encouragement.

“We want those experiencing bullying to know that it’s not the end of the road, that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “For those parents we encounter who might feel discouraged, or who don’t understand the digital world, we want to ensure they understand that they still play a role.”

Brett said that regardless of whether it was cyber bullying, or a more physical or verbal form of bullying, the motivation behind the act remained the same.

“It’s all about trying to ostracise and reject a person,” he said. “The biggest point that we like to bring across is what bullying is, and more importantly what it isn’t.

“The bigger question is why people become bullies, and helping victims in particular understand that what a bully does says more about the perpetrator than them, the victim.

“We deliver our message in such a manner that those bullies who may be in the room know that we’re talking about them without condemning them, and we also open channels of communication through social media, so essentially having a live discussion where people share their stories, or even own up to acts of bullying intentional of not.

“We want the audience to feel valued and respected.”

More information about the Foundation is available online at www.makebullyinghistory.org.