Peace in the Playground - By Nanette Mangoba

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Congratulations to Nanette Mangoba (Year 11) who was last year was offered a Media internship at the Australian Catholics Magazine and was one of the lucky few who worked on the organisations Summer 2015 edition.

Nanette's article titled 'Peace in the Playground' has since been published and can be read below:

(Courtesy of Australian Catholics Magazine -

Peace in the Playground - Nanette Mangoba

How do we cope when we become the target of a bully? As teenagers, it’s common to get hooked onto trying to fit in. We can do some pretty crazy things to be in the ‘popular’ group. Although it’s great to feel so loved by many others, we should try to be an individual, remain true to our self and should not feel compelled to do something we don’t want to do.

But sometimes the social hierarchy can start to crumble, sparking horrible situations like bullying. Battle lines get drawn, and people get targeted for being part of the wrong ‘clique’. From cyber bullying to verbal harassment, it’s an unfortunate reality for many students. So how do we sort this out?

There’s always a way to make peace in the ‘School Wars’. Take the movie The Breakfast Club for instance. Five students from different social groups (a nerd, a jock, a rebel, a princess and a basket case) spend a whole Saturday in detention at school and won’t even look at each other at first. But through the day, they adapt to each other’s differences and become friends.

Five keys to peace in the playground
Here are some tips for when you find yourself in the middle of a bullying situation.

1. Keep calm and carry on
Bullies are looking to hurt and get a response, so sometimes the best response is no response at all. Ignore the remarks directed at you, tell the bully to stop and simply walk away. Someone who doesn’t get a reaction from a bully is less likely to be targeted again.

2. Assess the situation
Is the bully after your lunch money? Perhaps you can neutralise the situation by bringing your lunch from home. Do they target you when you’re alone? Try finding some friends to walk around the school with.

3. Tell someone about it
If bullying is happening on a regular basis, you need to do something about it. Talk to your parents and your teachers about what’s happening. It’s their job to support you in these situations. You don’t have to fight these battles all by yourself.

4. Don’t believe the insults
It’s easy to get so caught up in the situation that you start to believe the insults bullies direct at you. Remind yourself to never let a bully’s comments shape who you are. Listen to the people you love and ignore the words of the ones who bring you down.

5. Love your neighbour
I’m not saying to place your complete love and trust in bullies, but it doesn’t harm the situation to be civil with them if you can. It’s important to address the issue, but it’s also important to remember that bullies are people, too, and are just as capable of being loved and forgiven by God as you are.

Nanetta Mangoba is a Year 11 student at at Marymede Catholic College in Melbourne. She undertook an internship at Australian Catholics in September 2014.