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Walsh: Youths must take lead to stop bullying
Legendary West Indies and international cricketer Courtney Walsh says youths must play a leading role in reversing the vicious tide of bullying now plaguing schools across this country. The retired Jamaican sports star expressed concerns about pushing adults to the forefront in this seemingly-contagious teen specific conflict. He was responding to concerns raised by Toni Sirju Ramnarine, vice-president of corporate operations at energy company Atlantic who raised concerns about the resurgence of bullying in T&T.
Speaking at last Monday’s 15th Annual Sport Desk Symposium with the theme It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done and held at the Cascadia Hotel in St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain, Ramnarine said bullying in the local school system was a serious threat to the development of the nation’s youth. She referred to horrendous incidents of bullying captured on smartphones which were then uploaded to social media that went viral.
Drawing on similar challenges he witnessed in the Jamaican school system, Walsh said taking the issue of bullying away from children who were most affected and placing it in the hands of adults would only stall efforts to end this scourge. Walsh said the youths had intimate knowledge of the dynamics that had infiltrated their world and they needed to be consulted and included in discussions aimed at arriving at practical solutions.
He told the teenagers present that they held the power to reclaim a serene space in which they could live and grow free from fear. “The fighting in schools…I am aware of it because we have had those problems in Jamaica. All I want to say is that the campaign has to start now by all those in the audience. You are our future leaders and if you put a stop to it, it will stop,” Walsh added.
Ramnarine, during her contribution, said students attending the Sport Desk mentorship symposium no longer had the luxury of side stepping the issues raised because they had not been victims.
“As leaders, we have to put down our complaints and take up ownership. We have to realise that part of the solution to any problem can start with us,” she said.