Three students engaged in a violent brawl, with footage showing one teen being kicked in the face and wielding a screwdriver
Three students engaged in a violent brawl, with footage showing one teen being kicked in the face and wielding a screwdriver Contributed

Wild brawl: Expert explains how to avoid conflict

VIOLENT behaviour should never be a form of conflict resolution, especially in the school system.

Disagreements and arguments can be sparked by any number of reasons, but how those involved choose to approach the situation is where the difference lies.

Headspace Bundaberg's community and youth engagement officer Cristel Simmonds said physical fights in the high school environment often had more to the story.

More: Shocking footage of violent fight at a Bundaberg school.

These days social media has created yet another platform for students to judge and bully one another.

"Bullying can take place just about anywhere," Ms Simmonds said.

"Up to 46.8 per cent of of Australian secondary school students report they have been bullied in some form over the past 12 months."

Bullying can be directed to any person by any means and can be done in many forms, including social, verbal and physical abuse.

High school is often an environment where spreading rumours and excluding people can be a common occurrence.

"People who have been bullied may feel alone, unsafe, afraid, stressed, ashamed and rejected," Ms Simmonds said.

"Bullying is not simply part of growing up. Research shows that being bullied can have serious effects on your physical and mental health, and your performance at school.

"Severe bullying can be traumatic for young people, especially peer bullying, as peer relationships are important at this stage of life.

"Experiencing bullying can also increase the risk that someone will develop depression and anxiety in the future."

Mental health is a growing issue in many communities, and the tolerance for bullying is growing slimmer by the day.

"It's important to remember that if you are being bullied, it is not your fault," Ms Simmonds said.

"There is nothing wrong with you, it's the result of someone else's behaviour."

Ms Simmonds said being an active bystander can help if students were to find themselves in a challenging situation.

"The first step is to notice the behaviour that is not okay," she said.

"Use your gut feeling to decide that the behaviour is not okay, ask yourself 'if I was in this situation would I want someone to help me?', and decide if you have the responsibility to do something.

"If you think you might be able to make a difference, think about what kind of action you can take to respond."

Some actions students can take is to interrupt the momentum by asking if everything is okay, or by telling a teacher.

"But first and foremost, think about your own safety, the safety of others, and whether you should act then and there or if afterward might be more effective," Ms Simmonds said.