I am appalled by the recent reports of barbaric and inhumane acts of bullying at a prominent teachers' college in Kingston and the cowardice of the institution's administrators in failing to reprimand the perpetrators of such acts.
On December 7, it was alleged that a student at the teachers' college was blackmailed, chased, and attacked by fellow schoolmates after a taped phone conversation between a male student pretending to be gay and the victim, who was presumed to be gay, was broadcast and amplified via loudspeakers, emails, and cellphones to other students and staff members on campus.
Bullying is an act of injustice and cruelty on those who have been victims of such acts. In fact, often in schools and other institutions, one in every three students has been verbally and physically harassed and abused by a bully (whether male or female). The victims often subsequently suffer from several mental-health disorders, such as stress and depression, which often lead to suicidal attempts.
The Ministry of Education needs to address this issue. For teachers in training, vigilante acts and assaults are unacceptable, and should not be tolerated in the education system. Some parents and guardians are jittery about the safety of their children in the 'care' of teachers who are not sensitised to gender and social differences students may portray. If teachers in training are acting as bullies, how can we then trust them with the lives of our children?
unreported and unchallenged
Due to a blind eye given to the incident by members of staff and the institution, the perpetrators go unpunished, while the victim remains in hiding and out of school. Many cases like this go unreported and unchallenged. Something has to be done, and urgently. One too many is the cry of victimised students across Jamaica who are facing bullies in every shape and form.