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Halo spearheads massive programme in schools to address bullying

The Halo Foundation, with the assistance of the Barbados-based Maria Holder Memorial Trust, has embarked upon an extensive initiative to eradicate bullying in the nation’s schools. The program, entitled the “Olweus Bullying Prevention Programme”, will be implemented in six schools on the island, all of which were selected by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and will be piloted for the next two years.

Mr. Shawn Clarke, a Certified Bullying Prevention Trainer and Consultant, has been contracted by the Halo Foundation through The Maria Holder Memorial Trust to provide training and consultancy for the six participating schools. To date, the schools have been surveyed to ascertain the prevalence of bullying in each respective school and the findings revealed to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Principals and other selected members of staff. This activity completed stage one of the implementation process.

Stage two will see each school selecting a “Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee”. These committees will be responsible for ensuring that all program components are implemented with fidelity; that information is communicated from meetings to constituent groups at school, as it relates to bullying prevention; that continuous support is offered to all involved, in their bullying prevention efforts; and that events and activities will be planned and executed in order to reduce the incidences of bullying on the compound. Mr. Clarke indicated that “over the next few weeks, the schools’ teaching and non-teaching staff will be extensively trained in bullying prevention and given the tools to address bullying in a meaningful way.”

President and Founder of the Halo Foundation, Lady Williams, commented that “this exercise is in keeping with one of the major goals of the Foundation  — to assist in moulding the youth of our nation into caring and compassionate citizens. With specific respect to bullying and aggression, surveys in six pilot schools show that 43% of our children have reported being bullied. We, therefore, need to further sensitize our teachers, parents and community leaders to its causes, effects and treatment”.

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