Law against bullying ‘needed’
LEGISLATION?GOVERNING BULLYING is needed to combat this scourge in the island’s schools, says Shawn Clarke, chief executive officer of Supreme Counselling for Personal Development.
“Legislation can’t be far off. It is something that will certainly have to be looked at. At the moment, there is nothing governing bullying which is a big issue,” said Clarke, facilitator of the Olweus Prevention Bullying Programme in conjunction with the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
“We need some form of [uniformity] in relation to bullying. Right now, one principal deals with the issue one way and another deals with it in his own way,” Clarke said at a Press briefing yesterday.
The pilot programme, which started last month at four schools – Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary, Frederick Smith Secondary, Lester Vaughan Secondary and Wesley Hall Infants – is already bearing results at Grantley Adams and Frederick Smith Secondary.
“The principal at Grantley Adams Memorial is pleased with the programme and told me there has been a difference at the school since it was introduced. The children are buying into the programme,” he said, expressing delight that the programme had been approved by the Ministry of Education.
“We want to make it clear bullying is wrong. It is bad taking advantage of people who are unable to defend themselves. We have to be defenders,” he said.
Clarke said the approach to the bullying issue had to be holistic.
“No one group or agency can do it alone. Everyone has to be on board for a very serious problem,” he said.
Clarke said it would be wrong to send home children for bullying without an intervention, adding that by the time most young bullies reach age 23 they had already chalked up four criminal convictions.
He told the media that an anti-bullying competition was being launched, with entries being submitted through video of two to three minutes, which should be forwarded to Supreme Counselling for Personal Development.
The winner will be the video that receives the most “likes”.
Clarke said the progamme was relatively expensive but described
it as a vital investment that could not be seen purely in terms of dollars and cents.
“It is a wise investment that can help Barbados. I am not willing to put a $5 or $10 cap on eradicating bullying from the society; it is a cost that is well spent,” he added. (MK)