Remarks by Honourable Sharie B. de Castro
Minister for Education, Youth Affairs and Sports
Anti-Bullying Week October 15-21
October 15th 2023
I greet you today with a sense of deep purpose and urgency as we approach an important event in our calendar—Anti-Bullying Week 2023. This week holds immense significance, not only for our educational institutions but for our entire community.
Anti-Bullying Week is more than just a series of events; it is a collective statement of our commitment to creating a safer, kinder, and more inclusive society. It is a week dedicated to raising awareness about the pervasive issue of bullying and its devastating consequences on individuals and communities. It is a time when we come together as one to address this pressing concern, with the ultimate goal of fostering an environment where every member of our society can thrive without fear or intimidation.
Our overarching goal in hosting this week of events is to effect positive change by shedding light on the issue of bullying and empowering our citizens to take action against it. We aim to heighten awareness of the detrimental effects of bullying, not just within the confines of our schools but also within our larger communities. By doing so, we aspire to break the silence that often surrounds bullying and its consequences.
The Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs, and Sports and The New Horizons Guidance and Counselling Unit stands as a united front to bring awareness to the negative effects of bullying in our schools and in our wider communities.
Far too often, we find ourselves complicit in our silence—silent when we witness bullying, silent about the profound hurt it causes, and silent when bullying is dismissed as 'just banter' or brushed off as a joke. But it does not have to be this way.
While it is true that we may not always see eye to eye with everyone, and disagreements may naturally arise, we must recognize the power we hold within ourselves to choose respect and unity. We can choose kindness.
During this Anti-Bullying Week, let us come together as a territory to engage in meaningful conversations about what bullying truly means to each of us. Let us explore how seemingly harmless banter can escalate into something deeply hurtful, and most importantly, let us collectively explore proactive measures to eradicate bullying from our schools and communities. Together, we can make an enduring difference and take a firm stand against bullying.
From the playground to the hallowed halls of the House of Assembly, and from our digital devices to the sanctity of our homes, let us raise our voices against bullying and declare that we will not tolerate it any longer.
As part of our efforts, I encourage every citizen to actively participate in the activities planned for the week, including the "Dress the Town in Odd Socks" event on the 17th of October, 2023, which serves as a symbol of our commitment to embracing diversity and inclusion. Additionally, we have organized Pep Rallies at various schools to foster a sense of camaraderie and unity.
Let us work together diligently to instill a culture of respect, understanding, and compassion within our educational institutions and far beyond. Together, we can illuminate the path to a brighter, kinder future for all.
I extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering support and dedication to this crucial cause. Together, we can make a lasting impact and create a community where bullying has no place.
Thank you for your support of Anti-Bullying Week 2023.