Winners of an anti-bullying short story competition were among the star attractions at an anti-bullying conference, organised by Hampshire County Council, for young people aged 10 to 16 years.
One of the winners was Andover’s Aidan Reddon, a student from John Hanson Community School, Andover.
The annual conference, held this year at The Vineyard in Winchester, aims to inspire young people and school staff, helping them to prevent and address incidents of bullying through the theme of ‘Reflect, Respect, React’ and was attended by pupils and teachers from 38 schools around the county. They were encouraged to think about what works, respect others and to speak up for what is right and learned that being a passive bystander perpetuates the power of bullying.
Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education, Councillor Peter Edgar, commented: ”This is a remarkable event, helping our young people to explore what bullying means and the impact that it can have. Young people need to know how to cope with all forms of bullying and how to promote tolerance and understanding of each other and those in the wider community.
“Bullying should not and will not be tolerated. The amazing stories that were heard fill me with great hope that by working together, we can support those who have been a victim of bullying and help others to combat bullying in their school or community.”
Young people attending this year’s conference were enthralled as they listened to the personal experiences of South African born Chris Lubbe, the keynote speaker, who was an activist in the struggle against apartheid and Nelson Mandela’s bodyguard during the 1990s.
Chris Lubbe said: “I found the anti-bullying conference extremely engaging. Most importantly, I found that the contributions, particularly the short stories very compelling. I shared my own personal story on what life was like as a ‘black’ person living during aparthied.
“As a result of my decision to peacefully ‘stand up’ against this unjust system, I constantly found myself on the receiving end of the brutal apartheid regime. In my talk I likened the system of apartheid to bullying and encouraged students to stand up to bullying of any kind. In one of Nelson Mandela’s famous quotes, he says ‘Education is the most powerful weapon, we can use to change the world’. I felt that both the students and adults left the conference armed with the best and most useful information for tackling bullying.”
Throughout the day, those attending had the chance to hear the 10 winning stories, as they were read out by the authors. The judges agreed that the stories were chosen for their originality and clever use of language to convey feelings and emotions of both the bullied and those doing the bullying.
Story winners were presented with certificates and book tokens by Chris Lubbe. Receiving an award at the conference, for their 500 word stories, were:
Aidan Reddon, John Hanson Community School, Andover
Megan Piper from Elson Infant School, Gosport
Zoe Edgecumbe, Bay House School, Gosport
Hollie Eaton and Sam Pine, Poulner Junior School, Ringwood
Isabelle Nutbourne from Bartley CE Junior School, Southampton
Rodolpho Roux and Beth Hudson, Hounsdown School, Totton
Millie Parsons and Samantha Harris, Horndean Technology College, Waterlooville
Both the anti-bullying conference and the short story writing competition were organised by the County Council’s Anti-Bullying Good Practice Group, which linked with the Council’s youth participation team and Hampshire County Youth Council in judging the competition.