A survey on the prevalence of bullying in select secondary schools in Barbados will be undertaken next week.

The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has given the ???green light’ to Supreme Counselling for Personal Development to conduct the research project within the school system to determine the extent of the problem at various levels of the classroom.

The survey starts next Monday, March 19, and ends Wednesday, March 21.

In addition to determining prevalence, it seeks to ascertain whether the several types of bullying are consistent at all year levels throughout the school; to make all concerned aware of the problem in a more scientific way; and to share with Barbados the findings of the research so that this issue can be addressed.

Supreme Counselling for Personal Development also hopes to offer interventions in the lives of both victims and perpetrators.

According to its Chief Executive Officer, Shawn Clarke, "bullying is an extensive quandary in our schools and has an unconstructive impact on school climate and on students’ right to learn in a protected and secure environment without fear".

He further noted: "Once considered as a rite of passage or undisruptive behaviour that helps build character, bullying is now known to have long-term academic, physical, and emotional effects on both the victim and the bully."

Acknowledging that the effects of bullying are far-reaching in schools and on the well-being of young people, Mr. Clarke stressed: "In schools where bullying occurs children tend to feel uneasy and troubled, even those who have not been directly victimised. There is a general school climate of tension and intimidation and, not surprisingly, reduced engagement in learning across the whole school.

"If students do not feel safe at school, it is not surprising they find it difficult to focus on schoolwork. It is also more difficult for teachers who spend a great deal of their day focusing on behaviour management problems rather than on their ???real’ work of teaching and learning."

Schools were randomly selected with the exception of two schools (Springer Memorial and the St. Leonard’s Boys’ Schools) which will be surveyed to get the gender neutral perspective. They are Alma Parris Secondary; Coleridge and Parry School; Harrison College; Princess Margaret Secondary; Springer Memorial Secondary; St. James Secondary; St. Leonard’s Boys; St. Lucy Secondary; and The St. Michael School.

According to Senior Education Officer (Ag), Fernando Carter, the research will assist the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development to tackle and stop the issue of bullying in the schools as a whole.

Explaining that it could be used as a means of making stakeholders aware of the magnitude of bullying in schools, Mr. Carter said: "It can offer a benchmark for future research to provide understanding of the causes and possible solutions available.?? It can also ensure that measures are put in place to assist young people in making their school experience memorable; where teaching and learning can be conducted in a non-threatening environment of comfort and peace."


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