This week, the Student Representative Body (SRB) and the Public Purpose ‘Days of Significance’ committee ran inclusivity week: a week to celebrate and improve our community’s willingness to accept and acknowledge everyone, embrace difference, and find common ground. This culminated in the National Day of Action Against Bullying today.
Inclusivity is about diversity and unity. It’s about recognising our tendencies to judge others, as well as our unconscious bias. If we are aware of these uninformed perceptions, we can work to not characterise or profile people.
It’s also about getting along with those who may have different views, opinions or attitudes to you; and giving people you don’t expect to be part of your ‘crowd’ a chance. It’s about valuing our differences, the nuances in our perspectives, and always remaining open to new ways of thinking.
By acknowledging our differences, we can continue to foster our own culture of inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Bullying is the antithesis of inclusive behaviour. On this national day of action, we remember that sanctioning harmful and hurtful conduct corrodes our community at its foundations. We must never fall into the trap of victimising our most vulnerable.
Inclusivity can be easily improved. Empathising with others, respecting people’s boundaries, or talking to someone who looks lost or lonely are all simple, yet actionable, ways to improve your own inclusivity. While we cannot fully understand what it would be like to walk in others’ shoes, by trying, we develop empathy, and we bring everyone closer through tolerance and acceptance.
As educator and author Stephen R. Covey put it: “Strength lies in embracing differences, not in similarities.”
The week was a great success. We created daily notices and posters for the digital screens, which encouraged students to think about how we can ensure our actions are always inclusive of others.
Today, students handed out National Day of Action Against Bullying support cards and accepted messages for the ‘Inclusivity Board’ in The Lilley Centre that offered support for each other. At lunchtime, students saw a display of solidarity against bullying on the Boarders’ Lawn – a collection of signs with messages promoting inclusivity.
A video made by SRB and Public Purpose students was also shown during assembly. The students’ response to the week was amazing; it truly encapsulated students ‘belonging to the blue’.
President of the BGS Student Representative Body