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Benalla P-12 College takes stand against family violence

Students and teachers at Benalla P-12 College signed a declaration supporting goals of White Ribbon Day last week.

TONI BRIENT May 2, 2014 3:23am

Taking a stand: Benalla P-12 College principal Barbara O'Brien (left) and school council president Drew Morrison (right), pictured with Benalla Health community health director Neil Stott, are saying no to family violence.


Students and teachers at Benalla P-12 College took a stand against family violence last week as part of Benalla’s White Ribbon campaign.

The college is the second local organisation to become a Benalla White Ribbon Day Supporter, after Benalla Rural City Council signed on earlier this month.

Benalla Health community health director Neil Stott said he hoped sporting clubs and larger businesses in town would be next on the list to become ambassadors for White Ribbon, a national campaign to end men’s violence against women.

Last Tuesday, college principal Barbara O’Brien and school council president Drew Morrison, on behalf of the staff, students and the school community, signed a declaration to support the Hume Preventing Violence Against Women and Children Charter and support the goals and objectives of White Ribbon Day.

The college declared they ‘‘are not just bystanders but are prepared to take action and make a difference... (which) requires commitment, hard work and a willingness to stand out in the crowd and say no’’ to sexism, violence and male ‘‘myths’’ about control and power in relationships.

Mr Stott said the college’s support of the campaign was important because it meant children were being taught family violence was wrong from a young age.

‘‘There are three fundamental issues at the core of family violence,’’ Mr Stott said.

‘‘And they have to deal with values, they have to do with parenting, they have to deal with the absence or presence of a father in young people’s homes.

‘‘Because (those factors) all formulate how — especially — young men grow up and how they act.

‘‘At home, we can’t change what values have been taught, but now at school there is an opportunity for role models and mentors to say, ‘This is how you live your life’.’’

Mrs O’Brien said the college was proud to be a White Ribbon ambassador, and hoped the school community could make a solid contribution to the cause.

‘‘We believe our student representative council can actually have a part to play in promoting a safe environment for our own students and the wider community,’’ Mrs O’Brien said.

‘‘We think it’s important our students undertand that violence (exists) right through society and as a school community we can do something about it.’’

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