Le Antonio’s Foundation launches initiative to end bullying

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - President of Le Antonio’s Foundation, businessman Antonio McKoy, has launched an initiative aimed at reducing bullying in the society, particularly among students.

According to McKoy, who is also the CEO of Le Antonio Roofing and Construction Ltd, the motivation for the ‘End Bullying Globally’ initiative was born from an appeal from students who were participating in the foundation’s homework and development centre after-school programme.

"Some students came to me begging for help because they were being bullied; you could see the fear in their little eyes. We investigated and found out that bullying is a global issue, so we decided right away to stand up and speak up as the voice for the youths to help end this callous cycle," he explained.

The initiative, which involves classroom discussions with students on the impact of bullying, and amicable ways of resolving conflicts, was launched earlier this year, and so far several visits have been made to schools in the parishes of St James and Hanover.

"The objective of the foundation is to increase school campaign visits nationwide, with ambitions of introducing the ‘End Bullying Globally’ initiative to all of Jamaica’s schools," Mc Koy told the
Jamaica Observer West.

"Parents and educators often do not recognise bullying as abusive or criminal when it is done among youths, and are often not prepared to deal with the issues and root causes of bullying," added McKoy, stressing that the foundation will partner, for example, with health officials and school leaders to bring awareness and make changes to this culture.

He said the foundation is also in the process of creating an anti-bullying hotline to serve the public.

Meanwhile, the foundation recently staged a panel discussion at the St John’s Methodist Church hall in Montego Bay in an effort to further the awareness of the impact of bullying.

Psychologist Dr Julian Walters, who was a member of the panel, cited several reasons why some persons might become bullies.

"It is a sense of who I am, and so the bully is trying to dominate and say, OK, this is who I am. I am strong," Dr Walters pointed out.

"People bully because it’s a way for them to get a sense of control ... so, a way for them to sort of show that I exist, and I am present, and I am around."

Persons who participated in the forum were drawn from a wide cross section of the society. The panel comprised a psychologist, dermatologist, a school principal, a business consultant, the police, youth ambassadors, a journalist and a motivational speaker.

Dr Orlando Cunningham, president and lead physician at High Quality Medical Centre in Montego Bay, who was in attendance at the forum, commended Le Antonio’s Foundation for staging the event.

"I support the End Bullying Globally initiative at Le Antonio’s Foundation. Jamaica is still developing, so what Mr McKoy and his foundation are doing to reduce the aggression among our children is pioneering. I am confident that this will serve to help reduce the evolving crime cycle among the youths," said Dr Cunningham, adding that "the forum was upbeat, informative, and well organised."

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