65 per cent of students have been bullied - CDA report
A Child Development Agency (CDA)-commissioned study has found that 60 to 65 per cent of students have been bullied at some time in their lives.
The study, titled 'Investigating the Prevalence and Impact of Peer Abuse (Bullying) on the Development of Jamaica's Children', which was funded by the United Nations Children's Fund and conducted by PSearch Associates Company Limited, found that of the children who reported being bullied, 57.6 per cent cited being teased or called names.
The study also found that 31.5 per cent of the respondents reported being hit, kicked, and shoved; 28.6 per cent indicated having lies told on them; and another 13.7 per cent report that they were excluded or ignored.
Rosalee Gage-Grey, chief executive officer of the CDA, said the study was critical to the work of the agency.
"Our function involves the care and protection of vulnerable children, and it is, therefore, vital for us to get a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of bullying. This will inform our strategy for the operations of our own residential services and how we partner with our stakeholders to formulate plans to address the issue in the wider society," Gage-Grey said.
Randell Bailey, manager for research and development at the CDA, explained that the study was aimed at identifying and assessing the intervening variables that contribute to bullying within the school environment; developing profiles of both the bullies and victims; and using the information garnered to develop an integrated response mechanism to bring awareness to the issue at the national level.
Based on the data presented, nine in 10 students said that they had seen a child being bullied.
fear of attending school
The study also found that 70 per cent of bullying takes place on playgrounds, and almost 30 per cent of children say they fear attending school because of bullying.
Sergeant Coleridge Minto, director of safety and security in schools, Ministry of Education, said that the ministry took note of the research findings.
"In response to the bullying in schools, which was supported
by the data provided by the research, the ministry, in reviewing the safety and security policy guidelines, has now incorporated in the revised manual to be released in September measures dealing with the issue of bullying," Minto said.
International organisations estimate that 200 million children and youth globally are being abused by their peers on an annual basis.