Students rally against bullying in schools

Students march on to Gulf City mall in Lowlands on Tuesday for am anti-bullying gathering organised by the Tobago Association of Student Councils.
Students march on to Gulf City mall in Lowlands on Tuesday for am anti-bullying gathering organised by the Tobago Association of Student Councils.

Students from 13 schools across Tobago marched to the Gulf City mall in Lowlands on Tuesday for an anti-bullying rally to let victims know they have support and a voice.

The rally, the first of a two-day event which included a conference yesterday, was hosted by Tobago’s Association of Student Councils to raise awareness of violence in schools, including bullying of students.

From early morning, scores of secondary school students gathered at the Shaw Park hard courts and on the compound of the Licensing Office on Shirvan Road to begin the march from the eats and west to the mall in Lowlands.

Kimmery Richardson-Thomas, Chairman of the Association of Student Councils told Newsday Tobago, the initiative followed from a United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Principals’ Conference in collaboration with the Division of Education, where all nine Secondary Schools Students Councils on the island were asked to organise a rally focussing on an issue significantly affecting Tobago students.

Richardson-Thomas said Tuesday’s rally was the first time an anti-bullying campaign of this magnitude has been organised for Tobago schools.

Secondary school students gathered at Shaw Park hard courts take time to pray before heading out on a march against bullying to meet up with fellow students at the Gulf City mall at Lowlands on Tuesday. Photo by Tomley Roberts

“We hope people become more sensitised to the fact that violence in our schools will not be tolerated and students who are being bullied will see they have a voice. The children who are victims of bullying need to know as schools, we are not letting this issue go idly by and those who are bullies will understand that we are aware, we are monitoring and we will combat that,” she said.

Sherry-Anne Rollocks-Hackett, School Supervisor III attached to the Division of Education, told Newsday Tobago it was mandatory for school officials to document and report all incidents of bullying.

“We have had cases reported on some students who are cutting themselves and this is as a result of being bullied. Bullying is real to the students and as School Supervisor, I endorse the fact that it is an issue (bullying) that is worthwhile (and) deserving of this kind of attention.”

“Many parents have come to the Division complaining about their children being bullied. It has even reach to the extent where parents made a request for their children to be transferred to another school even though bullying is not a reason we give transfers to children. Only because the victim is usually very torn up over the issue, we must facilitate the transfer.”

Rollocks-Hackett said participants at yesterday’s conference would include bullies and victims of bullying with the event focussing on behavioural change.

She said the Education Division plans to host several workshops on school violence this year.


"Students rally against bullying in schools"

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