Sixth-form Supervisor at Oberlin High School in St. Andrew, Everton Leslie, is highlighting the need for increased measures to effectively address bullying in schools.
He suggested the staging of fora where students from across the island can be sensitised about the issue, while giving victims an avenue to speak up about what they have suffered.
Mr. Leslie, who was addressing a panel discussion on bullying at the ‘Stand Up! Talk Up!’ Youth Conference at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Monday (December 9), noted that some of the bullies were victims themselves.
“I think they should develop some programmes to deal with it because students sometimes will not talk about it. So if you could identify the ones who are being bullied, we could have them in a forum and let them talk about it and give them the help that they need,” he said.
Mr. Leslie said he has found that extortion has become a part of bullying in schools, and so the issue requires serious attention.
Oberlin High head girl, Shanique Bennett, who was a part of the discussion panel, said that parents also need to be sensitised about bullying and how they can assist in fixing the problem.
“Most of the issues (relating to bullying) begin in the home. The bullies may have seen abuse or experienced abuse in the home,” she said.
“So, to me, you have to fix the problem from the source, so you have to go into the homes and educate the parents,” she stressed.
The conference, hosted by the Bureau of Gender Affairs, was held in commemoration of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.
Several students from high schools and tertiary institutions participated in the forum, which featured presentations on child abuse, human trafficking and the negative effects of alcohol and drug abuse.
At the end of the event, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, handed over a miniature statue of Louise Bennett-Coverley to the Institute of Gender and Development Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
Ms. Grange said that the presentation was fitting given Miss Lou’s advocacy for gender equity.
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence is part of the 100 days of celebration of the centenary anniversary of the birth of the cultural icon from September 1 to December 10.