Work to stop bullying among youth

The issue of bullying is often considered by many of us parents, as the “elephant in the room.” We do not talk about this unpleasant topic until it hits home and our lives are impacted.

Can you imagine if it were your child? Too often, we are made to witness firsthand when it is too late, the victim may have decided to end it all. We have seen the impact of bullying around the world, and it has severe consequences. We only need to take a look at some of the school shootings in the United States to gain insight into how victims are likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as drug abuse and even suicide. The implications are far reaching for any country.

Unbeknownst to many persons, bullying is prevalent right here in the Cayman Islands. It is for this reason that we write, as concerned parents and citizens.

We have decided to come together to form an anti-bullying group (“United Against Bullying”). This was done to create more awareness within our community, with the hope of making a difference in the lives of victims and to work together with other interest groups to eliminate this dastardly behavior from our schools and society.

United Against Bullying is a nonprofit organization; and we are committed to our cause to educate, unite, protect, prevent and stop bullying. We will continue to work tirelessly to achieve our goal. As we move forward it is our aim to educate the community at large, and to work to help the victims and the bullies.

As a group, we received data from the National Drug Council which was compiled by conducting surveys every two years from our schools. The findings are compelling and demonstrate that our children at school are indeed impacted by bullying.

By way of example, the data shows that in 2016, 59.1 percent of the students in Years 7 to 8 and 53 percent of the students in Years 9 to 12 experienced bullying. Some of the causes for bullying range from students being teased about their body types, race and skin color. In 2016, 26.3 percent of students experienced being teased about their body type, while 15.4 percent were bullied because of their race and the color of their skin. What was even more surprising is that of the students being bullied, 61.9 percent had not received any assistance in terms of counseling or the like to help them to deal with the emotional trauma. This may be because, for the most part, parents are not aware of their children being bullied.

The “United Against Bullying Foundation” will kick-start a series of activities with our first annual 5K run/walk. We hope you will join us at Heroes Square on Sunday, June 3, at 6 a.m. Please come out and “Be A Hero.”

Janet Young