Tackling cyber-bullying a priority for QLD schools

STUDENTS in 55 Queensland state and non-state schools, including Moffatdale State School, will benefit from new specially targeted programs designed to keep them safe from the dangers and perils of cyber-bullying.

The initial $750,000 rollout is backed by a partnership between the State Government, Dolly's Dream, and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

The two charities aim to change the culture of bullying in our schools and our community.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said tragically, cyber-bullying is one of the gravest issues facing us today.

"Cyber-bullying enables the troubles young people experience through the day just don't end at the school gate," she said.

"Yes, the internet is a great place for students to learn and socialise. Sadly, however there are so many traps and risks out there just waiting to snare and damage them.

"We are working proactively with Dolly's Dream and the Alannah and Madeline Foundations to better equip parents and schools.

"It's imperative we teach our school communities about online behaviours, social media and the tools needed to tackle cyber-bullying.

"That's exactly what these eSmart programs are all about.

"It's encouraging to see such a large mix of state and non-state schools right round Queensland have applied to be part of this latest vital initiative."

Education Minister Grace Grace said we are committed to doing everything we can to help stamp out this insidious problem in our society and as a community, we're doing it together.

"The partnership with Dolly's Dream and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation is a key feature of the Government's $3.5 million ongoing commitment to implement the recommendations of the Anti-cyber-bullying Taskforce," she said.

"This is just one of the ways we can reach all corners of our state and further educate our children that cyber-bullying is unacceptable, it's hurtful and it's dangerous.

"As part of the new initiative, an officer from the Alannah and Madeline Foundation will be located in Queensland to ensure schools receive timely support, if and when they need it.

"And there are already a number of cybersafety programs in place across Queensland state schools.

"As part of our eSmart programs, schools are able to roll out the eSmart Schools Framework, hold workshops for parents and teachers and provide digital licences for individual students.

"The value of the programs ranges from $500 to $14,000 depending on each component of the program and the number of students involved."

CEO of Alannah and Madeline Foundation Lesley Podesta welcomed the opportunity to work with more Queensland schools.

"We have to do everything we can to make sure children are safe from cyber-bullying," Ms Podesta said.

"Being able to work with so many Queensland schools gives us the opportunity to educate more students, teachers and parents, and to raise awareness of the potential risks of cyber-bullying."

The number of cybersafety programs already in place across Queensland state schools are:

•The Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group (SSSC) provides advice on bullying, harassment and violence for teachers, parents and students through the Bullying. No Way! Website

•A specialist Bullying Response team of senior officers are in place to respond immediately to referrals for urgent advice and support to families affected by bullying

•The SSSC also delivers the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, held in March ever year

•The Department has a dedicated team of specialists in the Cybersafety and Reputation Management Team (CRMT) to help schools to respond to and prevent inappropriate online behaviour.

South Burnett

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