Residents are being urged to be kind and help the government and other agencies in their fight to combat all forms of bullying.
The Virgin Islands
is observing Anti-Bullying Week from Sunday, October 17 to Saturday, October 23 under the theme “One Kind Word”.
Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, Hon. Natalio Sowande Wheatley, said unfortunately, in the Virgin Islands
'we too' have had incidents of bullying which have resulted in significant harm to children.
"Bullying can have a terrible effect on children and their families, and we must not give up in our attempts to combat it, especially now, when children are going through a very tough period in their life.”
He added, “The use of kind words is something that as a community we can all practice. As a response strategy to bullying it is brilliant. It allows all to engage in a practice that reduces the bullying of children and young people.”
School Counsellor, Mrs. Sharon Leonard said that since the inception of the annual week there has been a decrease in violent acts reported.
“Awareness is helping and we have seen a decrease not only in the schools but in our community. However, there are certain types of bullying that are increasing like cyber bullying especially since COVID
,” Mrs. Leonard said.
Organiser and School Counsellor, Ms. Bisa Smith added that the reasoning for the increase in cyber bullying is due to the anonymous nature of the Internet.
“It’s more difficult to get that person to suffer the consequences for their actions because it’s hard to track” she explained.
This week, counsellors across the Territory will be spreading the message of being kind and others are encouraged to do kind acts.
“We want persons to be intentional about being kind. A kind gesture, a kind word, a compliment, hold the door for someone so that it doesn’t close on the next person once you walk through. All of those things are examples of how to be a better person. And that is the most important thing any adult can do for a child, to mirror/model the behaviour we want them to exhibit.” Ms. Smith said.
The week is filled with examples of how to be kind as well as different messages that will be shared in the community. The remaining events are as follows: Wednesday, October 20 – Words of Kindness Day, Students are encouraged to share kind words to their fellow students; Thursday, October 21 – Professional Development Day; Friday, October 22 – Mid-Term Break Forum; and Saturday, October 23 – Social media video clips
Anti-Bullying Week is being hosted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture in collaboration with the New Horizon Guidance and Counselling Unit and is dedicated to assisting schools in preventing and combating bullying in all forms.