The Save Our Youth club hosted its first anti-bullying campaign on Friday at John Gray High School in a bid to reach out to the general student population.
SOY Foundation President Iris Stoner said the campaign is run by students, under the guidance of the Save Our Youth Foundation. “They get to run the agenda and what they want to do at the meetings,” she said.
Josette Facey, a Year 9 student at John Gray, said, “I think bullying is bad because some kids go home and cry or they commit suicide, so we should stop bullying.”
The club invited Miss Cayman pageant contestants to take part in the campaign. Latrese Haylock, director of the Save Our Youth Foundation and a contestant in the Miss Cayman Pageant, said contestants were there to give a voice to bullying and peer pressure.
“Bullying and peer pressure are two daily issues that students are facing in the schools,” Ms. Haylock said. “We want to address these by letting you know there are outlets, and you do not have to succumb to the school community but stand up for one another. “It is hard when you are an actual victim of bullying … but just because you are being bullied, you can do something it … seek help from teachers, friends, parents and speak out.” Contestant Mahalia Seymour said she knew first hand the effects of bullying. “Being so small, I was always bullied and forced into peer pressure,” she said. “If you are not able to stand on your own, then you will follow someone, even if it is bad influence. You have to have a mind set of your own and that is where self-esteem and self-confidence is born.”
Ms. Seymour said she dealt with bullying by having a great support system with her friends and family. “It was not really talking to the teachers because they were not too interested … they are now … but when I was younger, it was mainly the friends that I had, [who] were positive and had my back,” she said.
The event at John Gray is one of several anti-bullying events being held this month. The Cayman Be the Difference anti-bullying campaign will hold educational meetings with Kirk and Laura Smalley, founders of Stand for the Silent organization, to provide tools for children, parents, and educators to help prevent bullying and its often tragic after-effects. Two free presentations will be held at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. from Oct. 20-24 at the Family Life Center on Walkers Road.
Year 9 student Josette Facey said, “I think bullying is bad because some kids go home and cry or they commit suicide so we should stop bullying.