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Ninety four percent of Kiwis bullied at school

May 23, 2014

Ninety four percent of Kiwis bullied at school

Beat boxing champ stands up to bullying

Ninety four percent of New Zealanders have or are bullied while at school according to research conducted by Victoria University which found these levels to be very high.

Today is international Pink Shirt Day which aims to reduce bullying by celebrating diversity and promoting positive social relationships. Beat boxing legend King Homeboy (aka Paul Toki-Love) is sharing his personal story of being bullied and bullying in the hope it helps to reduce this statistic in New Zealand.

Born with gigantism and completely deaf Paul was always going to be different. However, it wasn’t until a medical breakthrough restored his hearing at 7 years of age that the bullying actually started.

Paul will visit three south Auckland schools to spread the anti-bullying message of Pink Shirt Day on behalf of Family Works Northern, which delivers family social services as part of Presbyterian Support Northern.

Family Works Northern provides 126 low decile primary and intermediate schools with a social worker. They provide social work services to help children overcome the effects of bullying and abuse while at school, at home and in the community. Family Work’s social workers in schools programme also supports teachers to make schools a safe place where children can learn and flourish.

Paul is visiting Pukekohe North School today at 9.30am and Waimahia Intermediate at 2pm.

Several other schools across the country will also turn pink to celebrate Pink Shirt Day and stand together against bullying today.

Family Works social workers in schools are organising mufti days, colouring competitions and t-shirt design contests. Children can win local prizes of $20 vouchers from The Warehouse or a national prize of one of two iPod touches, kindly donated by Pink Batts.

Family Works Te Hononga service manager Liz Thomas says it’s a great opportunity to talk about behaviour that respects and encourages others rather than bringing them down.

Pink Shirt Day began in Nova Scotia 2007, when a group of students defended a classmate who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. The students all donned pink shirts and handed pink shirts to others in opposition to the bullying. Schools and workplaces around the country are encouraged to celebrate the initiative throughout the whole month, not just 23 May.

About Family Works
Family Works Northern provides social services for more than 15,000 children and their families in the upper North Island each year – that’s about 40 people every day. From its Mahia Rd site in Manurewa, Family Works Te Hononga provides:
• Social work and counselling
• Parenting support programmes
• Social workers in schools
• Youth workers in secondary schools (in partnership with Anglican Trust for Women & Children)
• Family Workers with focus on family violence
• Strengthening Families coordination and facilitation
• Plunket Family Worker
• Service to Mothers & Babies Unit, Auckland Women’s Correction Facility (in partnership with Plunket)
• Budgeting and Money Management
• Out of Gate – community reintegration services for women offenders.

A full copy of Paul’s bullying story is available here.


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