Fifth former at the St. George Secondary School, Nahshon Patterson, shows his winning mural to (from left to right) Principal of the school, Dennis Browne; Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw; CEO of Supreme Counselling for Personal Development, Shawn Clarke; and Project Manager of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Donna Clarke. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

An anti-bullying campaign has been introduced at St. George Secondary School, not because it is a serious problem there, but because the principal and staff will not be tolerating any occurrence of bullying.

This was made clear to students and their parents today as Principal Dennis Browne addressed the launch of their Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme, introduced to the school by Supreme Counselling for Personal Development, with support from the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.

Using the mantra Bullying Not Cool, Bullying Not Cool, Bullying Not Cool, Mr. Browne spoke to an audience that included Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer Bradshaw, Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Counselling for Personal Development, Shawn Clarke, and officials from the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.

He dispelled the notion that there must be a serious problem of bullying for such a programme to be introduced, stating: “I beg to differ. I believe that the implementation of a bullying programme is taking that step to say to the world, we know it exists, and have joined in the fight with others who are also against bullying.

“So, even though bullying may not be a serious problem at this school, today we join with others across the globe to send the message that it will not be tolerated at St. George Secondary School. And what has now become a famous statement by our Prime Minister the Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, not bout hey”. 

Speaking about a recent incident at the school, Mr. Browne noted that disciplinary action was taken against the bullies, but what pleased him most was the fact that the bullied students spoke out against the situation.

“We were able to intervene and bring an end to the uncomfortable and unfair treatment that faced those three students.

Third former at the St. George Secondary School, Joshua Lorde, receives his prize of $500, one tablet and a trophy from Project Manager at the Maria Holder Trust, Judith Mascoll. Lorde was the winner of the anti-bullying t-shirt logo competition. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

“I take this opportunity to say to those three students ‘well done’.  We applaud you for the courage you have shown in speaking out.  We understand it may not have been easy to speak out because of fear of retaliation by the bullies, but we commend you for doing so.  It is only by doing so, that we can bring an end to what you are faced with,” he stressed.

With the implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme, the principal hopes the school community would become more aware of such acts and take necessary measures to prevent students becoming victims, as well as to remedy and change the negative behaviours of the bullies.  

He added that he saw the programme not only dealing with individual problems, but creating a more positive environment within the school, which should be one that provides nurturing, improves peer relations, and leaves no room for bullying.

“This programme is not a quick fix, but rather a long-term, whole school approach of which the entire school community, Board of Management, staff, students, parents, community partners, and the Ministry of Education come together to ensure that the negative behaviours of some students are not impacting the learning and development of their peers,” Mr. Browne said. 

At the launch, there was the unveiling of a logo and two murals against bullying, designed by the students, as well as the presentation of awards to participants in the related logo and mural competitions.  

Joshua Lorde was the winner of the logo competition, while Nahshon Patterson won the mural competition.  Ramario Harewood placed second in both competitions.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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