“Take a Stand Against Bullying” is the slogan for the fourth local observance of Bullying Prevention Month in Cayman.
Organized by the Family Resource Centre of the Department of Counselling Services, the campaign seeks to educate the public about how to protect children from the effects of bullying and unite communities by encouraging social responsibility, according to a government press release.
Bullying can take on many forms, the press release says, and has recently broadened to include various forms of cyberbullying. The results of the National Drug Council’s 2014 survey, its most recent poll on bullying in the Cayman Islands, found that 13- to 15-year-olds are at the highest risk of physical and psychological aggression.
In light of those findings, this month’s campaign is built around activities for high school students, including school assembly presentations on how bullying affects individuals and the entire school community.
Students ages 11 to 17 are encouraged to take part in two competitions that promote an anti-bullying theme. The grand prize winner of the song contest will work with a local musician to have their song recorded and broadcast, while the overall winning poster will be used in the campaign’s promotional literature.
The Family Resource Centre will also encourage a national conversation on the issue via local broadcasters and is partnering with several businesses in sponsoring anti-bullying public service announcements. The public service announcements suggest ways in which students and others can get involved to stop bullying and support victims.
Charmaine Miller, acting program coordinator of the Family Resource Centre, said the campaign seeks to create a culture of tolerance and acceptance of individual differences.
“Given the National Drug Council’s findings, we will actively be targeting teenagers to equip them with the necessary skills to stand up safely against bullying and become upstanders in their community,” she said.
The campaign also invites citizens and businesses to take a stand against bullying by buying “Stood Up” T-shirts. The Family Resource Centre further suggests that schools and offices organize a dress-down day on Oct. 14 when the T-shirts are worn. The shirts, which are available from the Family Resource Centre, can also be worn at the annual Silent Witness March, organized by the Business and Professional Women’s Club on Oct. 18.
The Family Resource Centre is also organizing a parenting session called “How to Bully-proof Your Child” on Oct. 19 to assist parents in recognizing and preventing bullying behavior.
For contest details, including submission deadlines, visit [email protected] For a schedule of the month’s bullying prevention events, visit facebook.com/familyresourcecentre or call the Family Resource Centre on 949-0006.