By anguillian June 13, 2016 11:15 Updated



Participants in a mass roundtable discussion in Anguilla have looked at bullying in schools as part of an on-going island-wide preventive campaign. The event, at the Raymond Guishard Technical Centre conference room, was a major talking point on Thursday, June 2, and had as its theme “Agent of Change: Bullying Prevention and Me”. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Sanford Richardson, Commissioner of Social Development.
The UNICEF-sponsored meeting brought together representatives of the Ministries and Departments of Education and Social Development, the Royal Anguilla Police Force, the Health Authority of Anguilla, faith-based organisations, leaders of service clubs and other stakeholders.
Ms. Janelle Lake, a Counsellor in the Department of Education, outlined the aims of the event. Among those aims were to allow the participants to become more sensitive to the issues of bullying; dialogue as stakeholders; motivate and inspire each other; mobilise community groups and resolve to prevent bullying via internal mechanisms and programmes.
Dr. Bonnie Richardson-Lake, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, said a Global School Health Survey, designed by PAHO, was conducted in Anguilla in 2009. According to her, among other things, the survey described bullying as occurring when students say or do bad things to others; tease them a lot in an unpleasant way and leave them out of matters on purpose. “It is important to note that the definition of bullying may vary from one institution to another,” she continued. “However, the common cross definitions are elements of emotional, social and/or physical distress. Not all definitions of bullying explicitly include internet or cyber bullying, but it is a very topical issue. It is important to recognise that cyber bullying can have equally damaging effects as other forms of bullying.

“Bullying negatively impacts a child’s access to education; physical and mental health wellness; and overall sense of wellbeing and safety. What we are looking at is the development of risk factors such as school avoidance and absenteeism; decreasing grades; inability to concentrate; headaches, stomach aches, sleeping problems, depression and post-traumatic stress; self-isolation, increased aggression, self-harm, suicidal ideation and feelings of alienation at school.”

Dr. Richardson-Lake noted, however, that globally children were not the only ones who suffer bullying, as adults in the workplace were also affected by such treatment resulting in impacts on the economy and social services.
She added that the most successful bullying prevention programmes were those in which school personnel and parents work together. She was therefore pleased with the large turnout and the wide cross-section of sectors represented at the roundtable discussion.

Dr. Lisa McClean-Trotman, UNESCO’s Communication for Development Specialist, and Mrs. Kiesha Gumbs-Bibby, Anguilla’s Social Development Planner, also spoke at the event. Dr. McClean-Trotman gave an overview of UNESCO’s work with regional organisations to prevent bullying in schools and stressed the importance of the initiative. Mrs. Gumbs-Bibby, gave an insight into bullying prevention at the national level and emphasised some of the necessary steps than can be taken to address the problem.

Other persons who played leading roles in the roundtable discussion were: Mrs. Hyacinth Bradley, Community Services Planner, with responsibility for PAVE (Partners Advocating for Violence Eradication) in the Ministry of Health and Social Development; and Mrs. Jacqueline Jeffrey-Connor, Education Officer, Multi-Professional Student Services, Department of Education.

By anguillian June 13, 2016 11:15 Updated


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