Olympian and former WBO Welterweight Boxing Champion Jeff Horn sent a strong message about the effects of bullying when he launched the new BullyProof Australia program at Beaudesert State High School.
Horn, who took up boxing as a means of protecting himself in his teens, said the constant battering from bullying caused him to withdraw from friends and family.
“I shelled up for a long time, fought back, lost fights and shelled up again,” he said.
The Amayda Resilience program, run by BullyProof Australia, will train students in Year 7 to 10 via the school’s Health and Physical Education staff in techniques to recognise and combat bullying in the school.
HPE Head of Department, Lisa Callaghan said bullying is a widespread problem which exists in most schools.
“By embedding this into the curriculum we will give our students the tools to make better choices and react in better ways,” she said.
Horn spoke at the launch event for the program along with BullyProof Australia’s CEO, Frank Mechler.
Mechler congratulated the High School for implementing the program which aims to turn the tide against bullying, one school at a time.
“Bullying is not a one-off conflict,” he said.
“Bullying is when a student targets another student and makes it their mission to make that person’s life miserable.”
“Bullies bully for a reason, but there are no acceptable reasons to bully.”
Untrained in conflict management, the ways students deal with bullying, often result in hurting themselves or others.
Mechler said he became passionate about the program after his daughter’s close friend committed suicide following bullying incidents.
A father of three, Horn said the program has great importance to him personally.
“I have the (welterweight champion) belt here and I would give that up to save a kid’s life,” he said.