CEO of Supreme Counselling for Personal Development, Shawn Clarke presents Ramario Harewood with his second place award for the mural competition, which is part of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme. The programme was launched at the St. George Secondary School today. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Students at St. George Secondary School were today given a snapshot of what constitutes bullying when Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Supreme Counselling for Personal Development, Shawn Clarke, addressed the launch of his organisation’s Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme at that educational institution.

Stressing he was confident they would execute the programme with pride, Mr. Clarke noted that bullying was real and Barbadians had to start “seeing it as what it is”.  He also noted that when aspects of it was compared with the law, one was able to see the fit.

Elaborating, he said: “For example, physical bullying is assault; rumours and lies, defamation of character; cyber bullying, stalking….  We can no longer see bullying in isolation or a rite of passage, but as a violation of one’s personal right; as an act of degrading and demoralising and destabilising someone; of raping someone of what should be an enjoyable and memorable school life.”

The CEO further explained that experiences in bullying tended to be significant and included headaches, stomach aches and sleep problems.

He also listed anxiety, depression and other mood disorders among these, and stressed that academically, bullying took a toll on them.

Students heard too that boys who were identified as bullies in secondary school were over three times as likely to have multiple criminal convictions by their early 20s, and higher self-reports of drug and alcohol use. To this end, the CEO called for systems and mechanisms to be put in place, as a matter of urgency, to protect children.

He contended that the focus should not only be on the target of the bullying, he said some level of intervention must be offered to the bystander and the person exhibiting bullying behaviours.  

He stressed that the measures put in place for persons exhibiting those behaviours could no longer be punitive, but must have a psychological dimension.

Mr. Clarke gave staff and students the assurance that Supreme Counselling for Personal Development would be taking a holistic approach to reduce bullying in schools in Barbados, and he said, in addition to the efforts at St. George Secondary School, his organisation would be refocusing its energies on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme at the Frederick Smith Secondary and Grantley Adams Memorial Schools.

“We plan to re-survey all three of these schools this term and then again around the same time next year to build a case to be presented to the METVT as to why the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme must be given the green light to become the programme across all schools in Barbados,” Mr. Clarke added.

joy-ann,gill@barbados.gov.bb

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