T&T: MP wants anti-bullying task force

Trinidad Express:-Princes Town MP Barry Padarath is calling on Government to set up a taskforce to establish anti-bullying policies and guidelines for schools.

Padarath in a press release yesterday said he was happy to hear that Minister of Education Anthony Garcia was in agreement that policies are needed to be established in schools to deal with the harmful effects of bullying.

Padarath called on the minister to stop being reactionary and to put proper protocols and guidelines in place to deal with the escalating problem of bullying in schools.

He said he believed the Ministry needed to establish a task force with specific mandates on this issue and timelines to inform the setting up of proper actionable policies. “In the past under the People’s Partnership administration, a task force was established to deal with children’s rights and informed the work of the Children’s Authority,” Padarath said.

Padarath believes a similar approach is needed in this case.

He called on the Ministry to join the International Bullying Prevention Association which can be used as a reference on how other countries have dealt with formulating policies on the issue of bullying prevention as well as the rehabilitation of children who exhibit deviant behaviour in the school system and support services for victims and their families.

Padarath, who works alongside the Princes Town Youth Council, is in the process of joining the Council with the International Bullying Prevention Association and will attend and participate in their convention later on this year in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Padarath said he was happy to use his voice to advance an issue like this not only in Trinidad and Tobago but internationally.

Padarath said, “Bullying has long-term effects and can even result in suicide and serious crimes.”
He said he believes dealing with deviant behaviour in schools is a long-term measure in dealing with serious crime.

The Princes Town MP who once called for a Parental Responsibility Act stated that this issue needed to be looked at holistically in terms of prevention, rehabilitation and legislation.

Padarath stated, “any policy formulated to deal with the issue of bullying in schools needed to be strengthened and bolstered by new legislation to reflect current societal demands and not simply by reviewing existing antiquated laws”.