2018/2019 NATIONAL anti-bullying
ABOUT THE DIANA AWARD
The Diana Award Anti-bullying Campaign is a campaign created in honour of Princess Diana that aims to reduce bullying in schools across the country through a number of different projects.
One of the main projects is the peer-led Anti-Bullying Ambassador’s programme, a programme that has trained over 24,000 young students across the UK and Ireland to act as Anti-bullying Ambassadors at their school. An Anti-bullying Ambassador’s role is to:
help educate their peers on bullying
lead anti-bullying campaigns
promote a tolerant and accepting culture and
help educate their peers on how to be safe online
If you are interested in becoming an Anti-bullying Ambassador or would like more information on the Diana Award Anti-bullying Ambassador’s programme please click on the button below.
ITHE 2018/2019 NATIONAL ANTI-BULLYING
Every year, the Diana Award Anti-bullying Campaign selects a group of Anti-Bullying Ambassadors to serve on the Diana Award National Anti-bullying Youth Board. The members of the Youth Board represent the voices of thousands of Anti-bullying Ambassadors across the country. During their year on the National Youth Board, the Anti-bullying Ambassadors meet in London to share ideas on how to tackle bullying in their schools and communities, discuss how to improve the programme and how to increase public awareness of the programme.
I am really honoured to have been chosen to be a member of the 2018 /2019 National Anti-bullying Youth Board.
In April, the members of the Youth Board travelled to London from across the country for two days of action-packed events. It was also an opportunity for us to meet and get to know each other and to share our ideas on how to tackle bullying in our schools and communities.
Facebook Headquarters Visit. On 12 April 2018, we visited Facebook’s London headquarters. We spent the day learning about Facebook’s anti-bullying features, including learning about the many Facebook safety features, tools and resources that are designed to keep users safe online. For example, we were taught:
how to block and report on Facebook
how to use Facebook’s Bullying Prevention Hub
how to use Facebook’s social reporting tools and
how to check your privacy settings.
If you would like to learn more about Facebook’s anti-bullying and online safety features please click on the button below.
Diana Award Headquarters Visit. The following day, we visited the Diana Award Headquarters, where we took part in team-building activities and group discussions on bullying.
The highlight of the two days was meeting the other members of the Youth Board, a group of very inspirational and committed young people who are as passionate about tackling bullying as I am. I found it empowering to meet and become friends with young people who have also been bullied and who are using their experience as motivation to help others in a similar situation.
Since meeting, we have created an Instragram account, which we use to stay in touch, to support and advise each other and to share ideas on how to tackle bullying and promote the Diana Award Anti-bullying Campaign.
REASONS why young people were bullied
the impact bullying had on young people
The main reason I applied to become a member of the Youth Board is because I am committed to reducing disability-based bullying. I am autistic, dyslexic and dyspraxic. I am also hypermobile (I have abnormally flexible joints). As a consequence of my disabilities, I have been bullied at school for most of my childhood. The constant abuse, rumors and social isolation eventually ground me down and took its toll on my emotional and physical wellbeing. As is common with young people who are bullied, I began having panic attacks, heart palpitations, crippling stomach aches and was afraid of going to school. It eventually became so intolerable that I was forced to leave two schools because I could not face another day of abuse.
At the time, I felt very isolated and alone. Although many students witnessed the bullying, no one reached out to help. I was also overwhelmed by a sense of injustice. As a student with learning disabilities, I had worked incredibly hard to overcome the significant obstacles caused by my disabilities. Against the odds, I had even managed to be accepted to two of the top independent schools in the country, schools where I was excelling academically. At one of the schools I had been awarded an academic scholar. Yet it was I, the victim of the bullying, who was forced to leave school and have my whole life turned upside down. The bullies, on the other hand, viewed my departure as a victory and were free to move on to their next victim.
In between schools, I was home educated. During this time, I joined several online home education groups and communities. It was through these groups that I learned that my disability-based bullying experience was far from a unique experience. On the contrary, I learned that a majority of home-educated autistic students had been bullied at school. Some, like me, had endured such extensive abuse that they had been diagnosed with bullying-related PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and were afraid to go to school.
The more I researched disability-based bullying, the more shocked I became by how common it is for autistic students to be bullied. According to Ditch the Label’s The Annual Bullying Survey 2017, 75% of autistic students reported being bullied. The Survey also found that 70% of students with a physical disability and 52% of students with a learning disability were also bullied. If you would like to read the survey please click on the button below.
When I learned how pervasive and widespread disability-based bullying is in schools, I felt compelled to do something to address this. Having a disability is hard, the last thing we need is to be abused, ridiculed and ostracized by our peers. Everyone has the right to feel safe. We are no different - whether or not you have a disability, all students have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. We all need our peers to be tolerant, encouraging and supportive and most importantly, to be accepting of who we are.
Please join me, the Youth Board and the 24,000 Anti-bullying Youth Ambassadors to take a stance against bullying. Before you say anything hurtful or unkind, take a moment to walk in that person’s shoes. Be the person who builds your peers up, instead of tearing them down. If you witness someone being bullied, step up, stand up and speak up. You have the power to make a huge difference in someone’s life. Be an upstander and not a bystander. By calling others out when their actions are unkind and creating a school community that speaks out against and stands up to bullying, collectively we can ensure that all children and young people have safe and happy school experiences.
If you would like to join us to reduce bullying in schools please follow us on Instagram by clicking on the button below.