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….
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.
“Tracey helped me to forgive him and we talked about how my faith can help me understand people.
“I felt better after that because I had someone at the school who knows and shares my faith.”
For Tracey, 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.