MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Holy Week Reflection

Holy Week 2015 begins on Palm Sunday, 29 March and ends on Holy Saturday, 4 April. It is the last week of lent season or the week before Easter Sunday. Christians around the world commemorate the Passion of Christ during Holy Week which also includes Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday.

Holy Week is special for Christians as it marks the last days of Jesus Christ on earth. According to the Bible, Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, washed the feet of His disciples on Holy Thursday and was crucified on Good Friday before resurrection on Easter. Christians observe the week in penance, fasting and sending good wishes to friends, relatives and loved ones. Here are five inspirational quotes, sayings and reflections of Holy Week:

  1. “Life is a precious gift, but we realize this only when we give it to others.” – Pope Francis
  2. “When Christ entered into Jerusalem the people spread garments in the way: when He enters into our hearts, we pull off our own righteousness, and not only lay it under Christ’s feet but even trample upon it ourselves.” — Augustus Toplady
  3. “The closer a person is to God, the closer he is to people.” – Pope Benedict XVI
  4. “Merciful God, release us from the time of trial and oppression that we may witness to the eternal hope of grief becoming joy and life rising from death. Amen.” – Unknown
  5. “We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.” – Elisabeth Ellio

A number of our students, along with the boys from Marist College Kogarah, will be involved in the re-enactment of the Stations of the Cross at St Mary MacKillop Parish, Rockdale at 10 am on Friday 3 April. We look forward to seeing as many of you there as possible.

Prayer for Holy Week

O God,

be with us at all times,

and especially when we feel abandoned.

Lift us from despair to hope,

from fear to courage,

from doubt to faith,

from hatred to love.

Through Christ our Lord.

Anti-Bullying Policy

Catholic schools have the responsibility to promote cultures of trust, cooperation and respect in the lived experience of the Catholic Christian setting. Bullying in a school mitigates such a culture and inhibits the development of positive relational outcomes for the common good of students, teachers and caregivers. It is the goal of Bethany College to promote a safe environment where every individual may grow and develop. Well-articulated, understood and implemented policies and procedures facilitate such a goal and minimise the risk of inappropriate behaviours becoming accepted, tolerated or even endemic.

“…..(Catholic) schools will have as their goal the formation of Christian disciples, with appropriate world view, character and behaviour.” (Catholic Schools at the Crossroads, p14)

The modelling of positive behaviours and anti-bullying strategies in schools has become an important aspect of student learning and parent reporting. It is also necessary for students to be involved in the evaluation of processes, for regular policy review and dialogue at staff level and for easy policy access for parents and the community.  “The goals of anti-bullying initiatives also align with the teaching in schools of socio-moral values such as respect, support/care, cooperation, acceptance or difference and inclusion” (McGrath & Noble, 2003).

Whilst there is no definitive and universally accepted definition of bullying, the most influential research in the area of what constitutes bullying has been proposed by Olweus (1993):

“…bullying may be defined as a student being exposed, repeatedly and over time, to intentional injury or discomfort inflicted by one or more other students. This may include physical contact, verbal assault, making obscene gestures or facial expressions, and intentionally excluding the student.”

This is the definition that we have adopted at Bethany. Arguments between girls is normal and to be expected and much anger and resentment can build; but this is not bullying. Very poor behaviour may result from a fight may need to be reported and dealt with as a serious incident but it is not bullying if it is not repeated and used to exert power over another.

If a student makes a report that she is being bullied, the following responses will occur:

  • Initial investigation will occur including a Student Interview with the relevant Year Coordinator, Assistant Principal or Principal.
  • Necessary documentation will occur at this stage including the completion of the relevant initial action tool, and written statements from all major stake holders.
  • Consultation between the Year coordinator and other members of the pastoral team.
  • Parental contact by phone, this may also include formal notification through letter.
  • Restorative Justice Conference for all major stakeholders.
  • Parental Interview.
  • Counselling (either by the school counsellor or referral to an external agency).
  • Participation in Wellbeing or Social Skills programs.
  • Placement within the school discipline system.
  • The severity of the incident will determine the behavioural management response. (records to be stored on school data base) Internal Suspension, External Suspension, Conditional Enrolment.
  • Exclusion, investigation of alternative educational options.
  • Regular monitoring of all involved by relevant Year coordinator or delegate.
  • Police intervention – situations when police intervention is required in cases of  bullying (e.g. Possession  of  weapon, extreme assault) and cyber bullying (e.g.sexting)

We are steadily surveying our Years 7 to 12 students (Year 12 will undertake theirs after their exams conclude, at the start of Term 2) and I publish some of our results below:

We undertake the surveys quietly, online as a whole group. Before the students commence, the Year Coordinator is careful in outlining the purpose of the data collection and reminds the girls about our definition of bullying. A fight between girls is not necessarily bullying.

A person is bullied when they are exposed regularly and over time to negative actions on the part of one or more persons. Bullies are people who deliberately set out to intimidate, exclude, threaten and/or hurt others repeatedly. They can operate alone or as a group.

Key features: 

  • an initial desire to hurt
  • the desire is acted upon
  • imbalance of power
  • the action is without justification
  • the behaviour is repeated
  • the bully enjoys hurting the victim

Do   you think this school is safe

Yes   (%)

No   (%)

Year 11

99

1

Year 10

98

2

Year 9

97

3

Year 8

99

1

Year 7

99

1

 

 

 

Types   of bullying that have happened to YOU in this school, this year:

 

Year   11

Year   10

Year   9

Year   8

Year   7

I have not been bullied

78

85

73

79

85

Physical bullying – eg hit, kicked,   pushed on purpose

1

0

1

1

2

Verbal bullying – eg called names,   laughed at, rumours or gossip spread about you

16

11

14

13

7

Social bullying – eg no-one would talk   to you, people excluding you

9

8

10

9

6

Psychological bullying – eg threatened,   mean looks, stolen or damaged belongings

6

7

9

5

1

Cyberbullying – eg negative comments on   facebook, askfm, snapchat, inappropriate SMS messages

5

3

7

3

2

We also asked girls to nominate any victim or perpetrator they have witnessed in the school and we will be working with these students to support (in case of victim) and re-educate (perpetrator) them. It is very interesting to see the results change as the girls mature. The use of social media to hurt others seems to reach its peak around Year 8 and then drops away as girls learn to use the medium more responsibly.  Once Year 12 surveys are complete, this table will be re-published for your information. We will continue to work hard to ensure the very best practice in pastoral care in our zero-tolerance, anti-bullying College.

A Prayer For Those Who Are Bullied

                        Let us remember that when we laugh at someone, they feel pain.

Let us remember that when we pick on someone

they are angry but also afraid.

Let us remember that when we don’t stick up for

someone who is being bullied,they are alone.

Let us remember that we bully because we want to feel strong, the boss.

But are we? What have we done?

We have forgotten our own fear by making others frightened.

We have forgotten our own loneliness by leaving one of us alone.

We have hidden our own nightmare in another’s terror.

It is no longer enough to be sorry.

It is no longer enough to boast and swagger.

These attitudes are hollow, skating on the thin ice of our own fears,

our own hates.

May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘not me’, ‘don’t want to

know’, ‘it’s their problem’, I’m not involved’.

For we are all hurt, all afraid, all alone, all different, all me,

and the world is allours.

We all have only one life.

Amen.

Community News

  • Mrs Symes’ arm surgery recovery is not progressing as speedily as she would have wished. We wish her all the best.
  • We keep Madison Dias (Year 12) and her family in our prayers. Her mother is in hospital facing a serious medical crisis.
  • Similarly, we keep Mrs Benson and her family in our prayers following the recent loss of her beloved father, Bryan Benson. May the souls of these dearly departed loved ones in our community rest in peace.

 

Student Laptop Progam

Students will continue to be reminded that the College has an extensive laptop program and as such, students ARE NOT PERMITTED TO BRING IN THEIR OWN DEVICES.

There are many reasons for this:

  • We wish to know that all wifi users are authenticated people from the Bethany Network.
  • We reserve the right at any time to take up machine and do a thorough search of internet history in order to protect students from their own, ill-advised online activities
  • We can easily “re-image” machines to a school-ready working order with the software parents have already paid for.
  • Teachers and students using the same devices means more time focused on LEARNING than on technical issues.

For these and many other reasons, laptops other than the one assigned to your daughter will be impounded.

Parents have reported to me that they purchased other devices for their daughter after a school laptop has failed. Quotes from external technicians are indeed very high so it seems more prudent to buy a new device. However, we have a strong warranty relationship with HP for the life of each laptop. In our commercial arrangement, warranty repairs are for the three years of the laptop issue and most problems are fixed at no cost to parents.

Unloved and vandalised machines will be fixed and the maximum cost to parents is $100. Students should not be rewarded for callous disregard of their learning tool by the immediate purchase of a macbook pro!

If your daughter reports an issue to you about her machine, ask her to drop it into the ICT office ASAP for repair and maintenance. If it cannot be fixed under warranty and the issue has not been as a result of student negligence, she will be issued another school-approved device.

Reminder about traffic congestion and observances

With four large schools, a nursing home, Catholic Church and a day care centre all within a 100 metre radius, it is no wonder that the traffic around our school is causing us all much frustration. When the Sisters of Charity established the primary and secondary schools in Hurstville in 1886 and 1895 respectively, this was a greenfield site with lots of open space and room to move. The urban environment that Bethany is hemmed in by is a difficult one for vehicles. We are bounded by two very busy roads, Croydon and Forest, with the only “quieter” street being Waratah St. Please help us to avoid a serious accident or injury to one of our girls by:

  • Dropping your daughter off in Waratah St between 8.00 and 8.15am before the primary school rush
  • DO NOT drop off your daughter in Croydon Road. The Parish drop off zone is a NO GO ZONE.  All morning and afternoon drop off and pick-ups are from Waratah Street only.
  • DO NOT park across the school drive next to the Church. It is illegal, impedes traffic in the morning. I have watched parents pull in and attempt three and four point turns with staff behind them awaiting entry and traffic banking back too.
  • Consider dropping and picking up your daughter in Botany Street, across the road. It’s faster, and safer.

I appreciate your support with this. A reminder that if you wish to visit the Uniform Shop,  buzz the intercom and drive in. We have two spots vacant each day for parents needing to quickly access the shop, make payments with the bursar or see a teacher with whom they have an appointment.

Our mantra:

“Girls can do anything.
Bethany girls can do everything!*
(*except divide by zero)”

 

Vicki Lavorato
Principal