NEWS

Bullying Affects Too Many Students For Too Long: Low-McKenzie

Silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying. Adults, students, and educators can no longer look away when they see bullying. Ignoring it won’t work.
26 Apr 2019 17:57
Bullying Affects Too Many Students For Too Long: Low-McKenzie
Pastor Kavekini Varo, with wife Mereseini Sivo, holds a photo of their late son Mosese Namumu Kubunavanua at their residence in Navakai, Nadi on April 25, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Save the Children Fiji has called on community leaders, the family, schools, Faith Based Organisations, civil society and Government to take steps to denounce bullying and stop bullying behavior.

Save the Children Fiji Chief Executive Officer, Iris Low-McKenzie said it was sad to hear of the passing of 16-year-old Mosese Kubunavanua of Ratu Navula College.

Mosese was allegedly assaulted by another student while watching the 2019 Fiji Bitter Nawaka Sevens at Prince Charles Park in Nadi.

“More and more we hear of the incidences of bullying in schools and online, perpetuated by those that are supposed to care for our children.

“Bullying is an issue that has affected too many students for too long and too many have suffered as a result”.

Ms Low-McKenzie said when adults model and justify violent behaviour, or if children are exposed to violence by other means, children think that violence is acceptable behaviour to solve problems.

“We need to assess the reasons and the background of the child, which we know the investigation process will determine. Unfortunately, the child in this case did not consider the consequence of his actions that day, and this will live with him for the rest of his life and it has resulted in the loss
of another child.

“This case can be used as a teachable moment for our children, talk to them about what happened here and the consequence of their actions. Reiterate that bullying is not acceptable and instead promote kindness, peace, acceptance and tolerance.

She said silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying.

“Adults, students, and educators can no longer look away when they see bullying. Ignoring it won’t work. Everyone needs to be empowered with options to
respond.”

She said the issue of bullying and any act of violence against another human being needs to start with children at a very young age and families must be included

  • in particular, the opportunity of Parent, Teacher Associations in schools so that there is a collective approach to this issue and the message at home and in school is consistent
  • do not solve your problems through violent or bullying behaviour.
  • invest in family time and talk with our children,
  • constantly check on them,
  • understand them and
  • be vigilant noticing changes of behaviours and encourage them to talk to us.

Help is available and children and families can reach out to the Child Helpline – 1325.

Save the children reiterates to children that their rights come with responsibility and to make responsible choices.

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