Bullying is a priority issue that
Australian schools deal with each and every day.
Chaplains are working significantly in
this space, providing social, emotional and spiritual support to students. The spiritual
support they provide is crucial, especially when it comes to bullying.
ACT school chaplain, Tracey*, was
supporting two students who were being bullied for the faiths they followed.
The girls, one Muslim and one Christian,
were being bullied by a friend who was going through a tough time, wrestling
with his own identity.
“The bullying included name calling,
hate speech. The Muslim girl’s culture was attacked, as well as the scarf she
wore,” Tracey says.
“Both of the
girls believed in God, so I was able to bring their spirituality into the
conversation. I saw they both had a base understanding of the concept of God,
so spoke to them on that spiritual level.
“It’s a nice space to provide support
from, and it was really cool because after that they didn’t have a problem with
him anymore. I think they could just relax about what was happening, they
didn’t react and the bullying soon dissipated.”
One of the students
spoke to her chaplain about the experience.
“My friend had
been bullying me since he found out I am a Christian and had been saying I was
dumb for believing, and that the Bible was fiction,” she says.
me to forgive him and we talked about how my faith can help me understand
“I felt better
after that because I had someone at the school who knows and shares my faith.”
being able to tap into her spiritual identity to provide support to young
people is what motivates her.
“It made my job so much easier to be
able to find a common ground to speak to them from that place of identity and
faith,” Tracey says.
*Tracey’s name has been changed to protect the identity of her school community.