By Shamar Blunt
A psychologist is urging more adults to join the fight to stamp out bullying in schools.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Supreme Counselling for Personal Development and consultant with the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme Shawn Clarke made the call as he and his team along with just under 1 000 students took part in an anti-bullying awareness walk on Monday.
Students from the Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School, St George Secondary School, and the Frederick Smith Secondary School, who are all participants of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme, took to the streets of Bridgetown wearing bright colours and carrying signs with anti-bullying messages.
Clarke told Barbados TODAY that the main message of the walk was that more adults need to get involved in helping to reduce the incidence of bullying.
“We really need the adults to join the young people. Know that they are doing something wholesome, know that they are doing something positive, know that they want to stand up for something good. We want the adults to recognise it and we want the adults to join us, knowing that the young people cannot do it alone. They will need the guidance and the support of the adult population,” he said.
Clarke added that the three secondary schools have themselves taken a commendable step in participating in the walk, and their message should be clear.
“What we are doing is saying to Barbadians [is] that these three schools denounce bullying, that we are not going to stand for bullying in our institutions, and that we want the public of Barbados to join us as we try to reduce bullying in this country,” he said.
In November last year, Clarke reported a promising reduction of bullying within schools involved in the programme, with St George Secondary dropping from a high of 22 per cent in 2018, to 11 per cent in 2022, and Grantley Adams reporting a bullying level of 11 per cent, down from 18 per cent in 2019.
Given the benefits the initiative has seen so far, the CEO said it was his wish to see the anti-bully campaign introduced in all schools, including those at the primary level.
“We are going to continue our fight against bullying in these schools. We really want the Ministry of Education to come on board and have this programme in all secondary schools, to begin with, and then we will go into primary schools as well.
“I recently drafted some protocols that I’ve passed on already to the Ministry of Education that I really want them to review, and hopefully they can be adopted to become the protocols to govern bullying in all schools in Barbados,” Clarke said.