Banter or Bullying?

The summer holidays yet again proved to influence one of my first whole school assemblies for the year. With the events involving Malkay Mackay ‘The day that banter died’ and the release of the new Inbetweeners film sharing terms like ‘The Archbishop of Banterbury” & “Bantom of the Opera” it was surely inevitable I was going to discuss Banter.

 Banter, meaning to ridicule, is centuries old.

Playwright Thomas D’Urfey used it in Madam

Fickle in 1677. “Banter him, banter him Toby.

‘Tis a conceited old Scarab, and will yield us

excellent sport,” he wrote.

I found this excellent video created by a student all about it.

My problems with Banter

1. People use it as an excuse to say something unpleasant and then distance themselves from it or to bully & hurt

2. When people say/think If you find it offensive then you’re the one in the wrong because it’s just banter and you don’t get it.

Is it any different to Bullying?

NSPCC 2013

“Almost half (46%) of children and young people say they have been bullied at school at some point in their lives.”

This is how we define it in our school:

Bullying – behaviour, usually repeated over time that intentionally hurts another individual or group, physically or emotionally

I used this video below to highlight the effects of bullying, it has a powerful and emotive message

An interesting report from Ofsted raises some of this looking at the most vulnerable groups, one of the interesting parts is that staff in schools don’t realise that it is even happening. What are you doing in your school to address this?

No place for Bullying – Ofsted report from 2002

“Research evidence indicates that there are groups of pupils who are bullied disproportionately. These include disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs, and pupils who are, or are perceived to be, homosexual. This aspect was considered in all of the survey visits and inspectors found that some pupils had been the targets of bullying for these apparent reasons. In particular, inspectors found that language that discriminated against both of these groups of pupils, and others, was common in many of the schools visited. Many pupils were well aware that such language was not acceptable, but it was often seen as „banter‟. In contrast, staff were not always aware of the extent of its use, or they saw it as banter, so did not challenge it.”

How are you tackling ‘Banter’ & ‘Bullying’? How are you educating students, staff and parents?

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