ISNS & SCCSC Stomps Out Bullying
Shenzhen (Nanshan) Concord College of Sino-Canada and the International School of Nanshan Shenzhen (SCCSC/ISNS) recently concluded their annual Bullying Awareness Week. The week-long event was a huge success, focused on lifting the silence around the unfortunately common occurrence of bullying in our schools.
Amy Rankin, Director of Personal Development with SCCSC, commented on their unique program and yearly Bullying Awareness Week, which helps broaden the school community’s knowledge on the issue of bullying. “We have a three-year program called Life Skills Club,” Amy shares about the student program. “They have to study general mental health, they have to study community building, and then they study counseling skills….it is very similar to a peer-counseling program back (in Canada)…We do a 40-hour training at the end of summer, doing team building and counseling skills and bullying (awareness)”.
The Life Skills Club, Peer Buddies program, and subsequent Bullying Awareness Week started three years ago with only 27 students, but now boasts an impressive 220 student participants! It is open to all SCCSC/ISNS students and those who continue on to be Peer Buddies and Peer Counselors are required to complete the five levels of training and programming, as well as successfully completing teacher recommendations and the interview process conducted by former Peer Buddies.
Student Union Representative and current Peer Buddy, Forest Zhang, was excited about the positive atmosphere surrounding the week. “The new students all love it…(it’s) very unique and interesting…and I think people can learn a lot of things from this week and to stop bullying”. Zhang was involved with the Student/Teacher basketball matches that concluded the week and was optimistic about his role, both on and off the court. “We do something very meaningful I think”.
SCCSC/ISNS hosted a variety of activities, performances, and educational opportunities that helped shed light on the often overlooked concern of bullying in today’s schools. With a focus on cyber-bullying, the power of social media, and a look into the lasting effects of both kind and unkind actions, SCCSC/ISNS encouraged students to examine their own experiences and day-to-day actions, as well as providing guidance for students in need of help.
Jenny Yan, one of the student leaders of the week’s program, encouraged her peers to seek a trusted adult if a bullying problem exists. “Some problems cannot (be) solved by one person, so you have to tell parents…or you can find a counselor to guide these people,” she said. Having completed all five levels of training to become a Peer Buddy Counselor and team leader, Yan showed enthusiasm for her involvement and the response she has received from fellow students. “I enjoy this program. We can help people, and help students how to fix their problems”. Peer Buddy Counselor and fellow student leader, Alyssa Wang, commented, “After we become Peer Buddies we have training that Amy and others can teach us how to help others and to stop bullies”.
SCCSC/ISNS dedicates these programs and the Bullying Awareness Week to help bring an understanding that everyone, regardless of personal background, plays an important part of the community and is deserving of respect. When asked about the potential benefits of having similar programs in other Chinese schools, Wang replied, “Definitely they should have this program. I think it is very useful because bullying is common in all the Chinese schools and they do not know how serious this problem is. And I think that the newspapers and media can spread the information to them…that can reduce the students bullying”.
This year’s event featured an “Amazing Care Race”, the “This Is Your Stage” talent and variety show, as well as several interactive educational activities, mini-sessions on Cyber-bullying, and daily Shout-Outs. One all-around favourite was Wednesday’s “Wear Pink Day”, where students wear a pink t-shirt, or go all out in head-to-toe pink, to show their personal stand against bullying. This movement began several years ago in support a young boy who was bullied for wearing pink to school. His fellow students could not condone these actions, and took to wearing pink t-shirts the next day, encouraging their friends and their friends-friends to join as well. The “Sea of Pink” campaign brings awareness and strength against bullying and is recognized throughout China and internationally.
SCCSC/ISNS is recognized in the community for cultivating not only a love for learning, but an understanding and a respect towards others. With the conclusion of this year’s highly successful Bully Awareness Week, and the further continuation of their popular Peer Buddies program, it is clear SCCSC/ISNS are focused on the positive impact we all have on our students, the community, and even the world.
Yan smiles at her memories of the past week, “I am very moved. You know, everybody just…smile and laugh and say thanks to me – they are very happy”.