Ateneo parents vs bullying

By Herman Lagon

“BULLYING is when an individual or group repeatedly misuse power to target another individual or group to intentionally threaten or harm them.”

This was intimated by developmental and behavioral pediatrician Dr. Celina Cordero-Gellada before scores of parents and guardians of Ateneo de Iloilo-Santa Maria Catholic School High School Department Saturday morning, January 31, at the school’s Multipurpose Room.

Themed “Bully-Proof Your Kids,” the Parent-Teacher Association-initiated conference was also participated in by the officers of the Student Council who happen to have an on-going anti-bullying campaign called R2BR or the “right to be respected.” The PTA partnered with the school’s Guidance Office led by counselor Cecilia Japitana who facilitated the event.

A fellow in behavioral pediatrics in UP Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Cordero-Gellada shared different local and foreign studies on bullying. She discussed not just what bullying really is, but also stressed the profile of a bully, a victim, and a bully victim, and the six ways and manners of bullying, namely: verbal, cyber, sexual, prejudicial, social, and physical.

Bullying is prevalent not just in schools, but also in offices and communities all over the globe, she said. It is important that parents and students must know how to deal with it as early as possible.

“If not prevented, bullying may cause the bully victim any or combination of the following: anxiety, loneliness depression, paranoia, low self-esteem, social phobia, revengeful disposition, and dysfunctional relationships,” said she said, adding, “conversely, it may also cause the bully lack of compassion or concern, sensitized aggression, lack of interest in academic pursuit, delinquency, anti-social behavior, poor interpersonal and parenting skills, depression, and suicidal ideation.”

Dr. Cordero-Gellada also put premium to the “bystander,” those who simply witness bullying. She said that they may also be desensitized with anti-social acts or end up with dysfunctional relationships. They may also experience any or combination of the following: anxiety, fear, insecurity, distress, distorted views of personal responsibility, helplessness, guilt, and anger.

Being also one of the Ateneo parents, Dr. Cordero-Gellada also gave suggestions on how to prevent bullying to happen in school. She stressed the importance of parent-teacher collaboration, student-peer volunteerism, behavior monitoring, and the collective support to the existing anti-bullying program of the school.

Affirming the speaker’s points, Prefect of Discipline John Trompeta appealed to the participants to disseminate the school’s Child protection Policy, which incorporated the anti-bullying program. While putting premium to prevention initiatives, he also underscored the importance of “incident reports” so his office can give immediate action to bullying-related and even behavioral concerns.

For her part, school principal Mrs. Rosario Dordas, appealed to the parents and guardians to continue following up their students, partnering with teachers, and supporting the school’s anti-bullying campaign. “Our thrust is for us to have a ‘Safe and Caring Ateneo’—where everyone respects each other and does Magis for the greater glory of God.”/

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