COVID-19 and bullying

Promoting kindness and respect for all ākonga, regardless of their vaccination status,
is important.

On this page:

Promoting kindness and respect for all ākonga - reinforce your school values

There are concerns some ākonga may be subjected to hurtful negative comments by others due to their vaccination status. It’s important we all do our best to call-out harmful talk and speculation relating to vaccination status.

Promoting and facilitating kindness and safe and respectful connections helps ākonga wellbeing. With the current nationwide focus on achieving a 90% Covid vaccination rate, and a return to school for many Tamaki Mākaurau ākonga, there is potential for heightened tensions relating to the vaccination status of ākonga and their whānau. Within schools and kura these tensions may lead to negative comments and interactions between ākonga.

It is vital to be clear about and reinforce your school values, including the importance of showing care and respect for each other. Remind ākonga to uphold the mana of all ākonga and their whānau, including those who may hold differing values and beliefs about vaccination.

Acknowledge that for some ākonga, talking about vaccinations may feel hard

Some ākonga will find conversations about vaccination difficult. It may result in big feelings and changes in behaviours. As adults we can acknowledge these feelings with an open mind, seek to understand and ask how we can help.

Show compassion to ākonga and encourage peers to do the same. For example, acknowledge differences in beliefs and then focus on what we share and our common values and beliefs.

Bullying behaviours directed at others about their vaccination status is hurtful. Let your community know if this is happening, to promote collaborative problem solving.

While vaccination is strongly encouraged, ākonga and their whānau still have the right to choose whether they get vaccinated, without fear of bullying and discrimination.

Ākonga vaccination status is personal information. This means ākonga have the right not to talk about their vaccination status or that of their whānau.  It can be helpful to remind ākonga of the importance of respecting others' personal information.

Monitor social media and be aware of inaccurate information

Hurtful negative comments related to vaccination status may occur both in person and online.

Children and young people may have been watching or listening to information online that they have been influenced by.  

Many stories about COVID-19 on the Internet may be based on rumours and inaccurate information. Speak to ākonga about ways they can access factual and accurate information and how to recognise misinformation. This could include getting facts through a reliable, trusted site.

Everyone who is involved in education needs to have a clear understanding of different lives, perspectives, and cultures.

 Netsafe(external link) has excellent resources related to online safety and cyberbullying.

More information about Cyberbullying on this website.