Children are not the only culprits of bullying in schools; teachers are also among the offenders.
That is according to Director of the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Resource Centre Al Layne who said they were occasionally getting reports of teachers bullying children as well.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference to launch a joint anti–bullying campaign with Supreme Counseling and Sheraton Centre, Say No To Bullying, Yes To Love, Layne said that often this was as a result of teachers’ inability to deal with “different” children.
He has therefore called for the scope of education on bullying to be broadened to include adults in schools and in the home.
“I think it would be very useful . . . Many of the kids that I see suffer from that because the teachers do not understand the specific circumstances that they are experiencing because they suffer from discreet disabilities. Essentially, that is to say the child is having a challenge of some sort, it’s not clear what that challenge is and therefore the child is treated a though it is stupid or dumb,” Layne said.
“When that child is treated that way consistently by people in the classroom who are an authority, other students start to behave the same way and it becomes very true then that words become more damaging than perhaps than being [lashed],” he said.
Chief executive officer of Supreme Counselling, Shawn Clarke echoed similar sentiments. He agreed that bullying was a learned behaviour.
He suggested that about 75 per cent of all bullying cases in Barbados go unreported because the victims think they have no one to turn to, or that their feelings will be trivialized.
Clarke called on Barbados to face up to the reality to the problem.
“We need to take our heads out of the sand. This thing that ‘it can never happen to us here’ has no place within our society. We have seen the increase of gunplay . . . so we have to wake up, we have to face reality, we have to realize that bullying has a serious negative impact on our society,” Clarke stated.
“There are older persons who say that ‘I got bullied when I was 10 years old and I am now 65 and look at me’. Yes, you might be extremely strong but what about those persons who aren’t as strong, who aren’t that well put together? There are still persons 40 or 45 years old who are still suffering the effects of bullying, who are still trying to deal with the skeletons that they have. It is not only about the physical, it is not only about the hitting and the kicking and the shoving. It is about name-calling, it’s about taunting, it is about spreading rumours, and words especially have an everlasting effect on a person more than a cut.”
Clarke urged adults to take reports of bullying seriously and investigate them.
Say No To Bullying, Yes To Love was the brainchild of Director of Sheraton Mall, Sharon Oran.
Saying that the topic was very close to her heart, she said that during the remainder of the summer holiday, beginning this Saturday with the official launch of the campaign, there would be a series of activities to highlight and disseminate information about the issue.
“We feel that Sheraton is an excellent location where we can touch a lot of people and actually reach out to them. Bullying touches all ages. It affects schools, businesses, home, work; it is not just about children. The more we can teach people about how to respond the more we can mature. We want to promote alternatives to bullying and the alternative is love, passion tolerance,” Oran said.
The activities will conclude on September 6.