What one guidance counsellor says is a growing trend of begging in society has found its way into the schools in a bullying tactic called scrunting.
And, says Dolores Codrington, it is something that must be taken seriously and nipped in the bud.
She explained at a panel discussion at the Garrison Secondary School last night: “One common form of bullying I find that is common among school children, especially boys, is something called scrunting. So you would have a child leaving home, the parent might have given that child $15 or $20 and by the time that child leaves school they can have $50.
“So they would accost the younger children, pat them down to see what money they have and take the money from them. Sometimes they do it every single day from the same child or they might change the child or group they are taking it form and this is common I think among many of the secondary schools in Barbados,” said the counsellor.
In the forum hosted by the school’s Old Scholars Association and hosted in the school’s hall, Codrington explained to a well turned out audience including past students and parents that a child does not have to experience violence for it to be termed bullying.
While a child that is a victim of scrunting is not physically being beaten, she said it was just as devastating on the child because he/she was losing the ability to buy lunch or even a snack after school.
The problem, she noted, was pervasive across schools.
Serving as the guidance counsellor at the Garrison, she said as well that in preparing for last night’s discussion on the topic, Bullying! Is it being taken as seriously as it should? she had spoken to counsellors at other secondary schools.
She added that what made this particular type of bullying so pervasive was that the younger ones when they grew up and became seniors in the school, seeing nothing wrong with the scrunting practice, they in turn perpetuated it against the new students to school, and so a cycle was created.
“So the average scrunting issue comes up very often and it is very annoying because there is this mentality that we seem to be developing in Barbados – everybody wants to beg and sometimes they beg and they threaten violence or they beg and do violence.
“This scrunting, this is something that we need to stop and a lot of the children don’t see it as anything wrong… Sometimes we know of children as counsellors, who every day have to pay up money, every single day in order not to be beaten up. So we have to deal with cyber bullying that is on the increase and we have to deal with scrunting,” she said. (LB)