Students to help tackle bullying

Seton College
Member for Mansfield Corrine McMillen with members of Mansfield's Youth Advisory Council that included representatives from five Catholic schools

BULLYING and other youth related concerns are on the radar for two Year 10 students from Seton College, Upper Mt Gravatt, who were selected for Mansfield electorate's inaugural Youth Advisory Council.

Hannah Evans and James Lowder will represent their school and community and be a voice for raising issues or sharing ideas that affect young people as part of the YAC, established by Member for Mansfield, Corrine McMillen.

Youth Advisory Councils champion the voices of children and young people and provide youth perspectives and advice to members of the Queensland Families and Child Commission. 

Council representatives hear from students across the electorate's 19 schools, which included five Catholic schools, regarding youth-related issues of concern, and workshop strategies for better results in school, family and social environments.

Through her previous experience as a secondary school principal, Ms McMillen will guide the conversation on youth-focused issues that included bullying and cyberbullying.

Ms McMillan said she was honoured to be able to share the opportunity with such wonderful young people.

“The Youth Advisory Council is a fantastic way for young people to have their voices heard on a range of issues," she said.

“I congratulate them for their contributions and thank both their parents and their schools for their support."

The first meeting discussed strategies to prevent cyberbullying in schools as well as qualities of a leader.

One idea put forward by the group was an anonymous forum where students can report instances of cyberbullying they had witnessed or been a part of.

“We discovered that one school uses this strategy," Hannah said.

“We would like to see this at Seton."

The college was discussing the idea of implementing a similar strategy to assist students in reporting incidents of bullying.

The meeting also addressed leadership development.

Hannah and James learned skills that would assist them as they moved into senior schooling and took on the responsibility of being a role model for younger students. 

James said he “enjoyed the opportunity of participating in the leadership activities and meeting students from other schools".

“We learned that schools everywhere experience the same kind of problems and that by being good leaders we can influence others," he said.

Ms McMillan said the council would continue to explore understandings of leadership and she will work at assisting each student to develop their leadership skills. 

“We will explore issues that are important to the young people of my electorate and I will ensure that their advice is passed on to the premier and her cabinet of ministers for their consideration."

Earlier this year Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the state government would tackle bullying, especially cyberbullying, among young people following the death of teenager Dolly Everett. 

The premier has already set up a state advisory council with representatives from across Queensland to ensure “young Queenslanders have a voice".​

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