“Bullying has been around forever, but it is a critical problem now. We have moved beyond the statement: ‘Kids will be kids’. Children can be very dangerous and unfortunately we live in a society [where] because of drugs, alcohol and the increase of poverty – all of those things have certainly added to the situation.” – Education Specialist, George Mason University, Dr. Vicky Spencer, speaking at a public lecture in Barbados earlier this year.
Bullying exists in every society. Though we would wish it different, there are too many people who still demonstrate that ugly side of human nature. More recently in Western “civilisations”, bullying has lead to violence against innocent people, particularly those who are considered “odd’ when compared to the majority of the population, whether based on ethnicity, sexual preference, physical attributes etc. (in truth, there is no real justification for bullying, since people get picked on for something as simple as having a different hairstyle).
Though it occurs amongst every generation and in all ages, it appears to be more devastating for the youth of today. With the immediacy of modern technology and the potential scope of transfer of more detailed misinformation, bullying has been armed to the teeth to destroy the lives of our children with just the touch of a button. This has led to the deaths of several minors in the US for instance, who have taken their own lives rather than deal with the consequences of bullying and the spread of rumours. This has also resulted in the month of October being recognised in the US as National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month.
Here in Barbados, the effort to address this issue has commenced and is ongoing. Leading the charge in combating bullying is the organisation Supreme Counselling for Personal Development, which is receiving support from the Ministry of Education, as well as companies like Sagicor. To date, the group – guided by its...