Youth advocate calls for societal change towards bullying

Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Counselling, Shawn Clarke wants to see a change of attitude in the society towards bullying.

“We still have this thing in society, among some people, that we believe that bullying is a rite of passage and it teaches our boys to be men. That is not working anymore. We need to get with the programme,” Clarke insisted while speaking with Barbados TODAY at a walk against bullying and other forms of youth violence, organized by Supreme Counselling.

The youth advocate said it is time for parents, educators and the public to realize that it is their responsibility to tackle the issue of violence and create solutions or opportunities for young people.

“Adults need to realize that they are responsible, everybody must get on board to fight against bullying. It must be like tourism, it must be everybody’s business. We can no longer say it is not my child so it is not going to concern me,” Clarke argued.

Chief Executive Officer of Supreme Counselling, Shawn Clarke.

He pointed out that the chief offenders in acts of bullying are the spectators or bystanders who chose not to intervene, adding that by refraining from speaking up, they are encouraging the act of violence.

“We need to work on the bystanders, we need to let the bystanders know do not stand and laugh because they are saying to the bully ‘I like what you are doing, continue,’”

“We need to stand firm, it must be a collective effort and we need to let our young people know that it is not something that you do,” Clarke said.

With youth violence on the rise over the past year, Clarke said a lack of community spirit and community life is a contributing factor.

“The unfortunate reality is that we don’t have a lot of community life anymore. We have a lot of community centres and yes there are things happening in community centres but  . . .  are they geared towards the young people in communities?

“I think the community centres have to become more accessible to our young people,” he said.

Clarke went on to argue that the education system does not embrace those on the technical and vocational path.

“We have a situation where the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic that would have been built for non-academic students, they are now being disposed because those positions are being given to students with five and six CXCs. If you give those positions to the academic child then what are you leaving the non-academic child to do? To lime on the block?”

“We really need to get systems and mechanisms in place and we really need to deal with our young people, meet them where they are at and address things that are most important to them,” Clarke added.

7 Responses to Youth advocate calls for societal change towards bullying

  1. Demetrius Garrett
    Demetrius Garrett October 1, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I was bullied at school for being different. School children decided to pick on me, tease me and call me nerd and weird. I use to get into alot of fights from defending myself from bullies yet whenever I tell the tutors, they wouldn’t believe me and said that I’m always causing trouble. Hell even some of these tutors would join in the bullying. Also I would give into peer pressure and get involve with the wrong crowd, betraying potential true friends. However people wouldn’t leave me the hell alone until I snapped one day in fifth form and beat up this dude. This is why bullying needs to stop because it can impact them for the rest of their lives. I had once contemplating suicide and suffered from low self-esteem due to the constant teasing, it took years to love myself but sometimes I still feel like I’m not good enough but I’m working on it and healing gradually. I’m glad that there are young people who address this because I don’t want to see another child who goes any of these circumstances.

    • Rudy Griffith
      Rudy Griffith October 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      I can relate to your experiences. Bullying gotta go!

    • Shelly Ross
      Shelly Ross October 1, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks for sharing and I wish you all the best.
      I suggest that you keep talking and facing it and do not bottle up inside.
      Bullying is real and it hurts and even kills and it continues to be enabled in schools, homes and work places so each of us need to do our part to curb it.

    • Demetrius Garrett
      Demetrius Garrett October 1, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      I agree with both of your comments.

  2. Olutoye Walrond
    Olutoye Walrond October 1, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    “We still have this thing in society, among some people, that we believe that bullying is a rite of passage and it teaches our boys to be men….”
    And who are the “we” of which you speak?

  3. Blessed Bobb
    Blessed Bobb October 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    We need to take bullying seriously in this country,however it is one thing for kids to bully each other,but it Is worse,when adults sanction it,and what makes it worse is when people record persons being bullied, and then upload them for the entire world to see to further shame victims.
    What is also worrying in recent times,is those who commit suicide after being bullied, bullying needs to stop now!

  4. Sherlock Holmes. October 1, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Some times i wish that these champions of their causes would be more specific in citing actual cases to strengthen their pronouncements.No one has to convince me that bullying exist but i am also aware that these individuals garner a lot of information from various articles and place it in their thought process for regurgitation.Mr Clarke do you really have any idea what is causing the deviance amongst the youth today? This pronouncement that adults need to realize that they are responsible baffles me, responsible for what? It is all well and of good intention to speak of people intervening in cases where bullying is occurring sometimes all it might take is strong verbal intervention but what about physical intervention? One can intervene in let;s say a fight and in so doing one of the parties decides to attack forcefully the person who is trying to prevent further acts of violence and that person is now placed in a position to defend themselves and in so doing literally manhandles the aggressor in a manner that might result in injury do you have any idea what the ramifications to such might be? I am all against bullying but you must understand that these situations can be more complex than you are purporting them to be in one’s zeal to intervene one must also be very careful as to how it is done.I will agree with you that there are some lawless adults that would be reckless in spurring on young deviant people in acts of violence but that is in the minority, most adults abhor this type of behavior and would say something to the offending parties when witnessing such acts but they are very cognizant of the way the young people of this era behave in simple Bajan parlance you cannot tell them anything i am someone who by experience know these situations very well and in dealing with such matters people should always be mindful of the law and it’s boundaries yes we need to deal with bullying but in my opinion you yourself have a lot to learn some of your statements are well intentioned and some are lacking in real experience i would implore you to really get to know more about some of the young people you are dealing with you seem to share the view that the majority of blame lies with adults. Mr Garrett what you shared was very interesting i hope that you can be enlisted now that you seem much more matured to assist organisations such as the one mentioned here in sharing your experiences for the betterment of this cause.


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