Editorial comment – Fighting the bullies

Pastor Kavekini Varo mourns the death of his son at his Navakai home in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

WE support the statement by Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Minister Mereseini Vuniwaqa that bullying of any kind should not be condoned.

In fact, it shouldn’t be tolerated at all.

She made this comment after a report of the death of 16-year-old Ratu Navula College student Mosese Namuamua was filed at their office in Nadi this week by the victim’s father.

Deceased Mosese Namuamua. Picture: SUPPLIED

The ministry, she said, did not condone bullying, nor violence in the home, in schools and in the community.

The ministry, she said, was mandated under the Juvenile Act, the Child Welfare Act and other national laws to ensure the safety and protection of Fijian children.

Therefore, she said, such incidents were swiftly investigated.

Her office, she said, would undertake further casework and would assist the police and families.

It is encouraging to note that her office provides advice and support to parents, “making referrals for counselling and other professional help both for the victims and their families”.

For those affected, remember the Child Helpline free call #1325 was established for children and those having concerns about children, to call and obtain information or counselling.

It is also encouraging to know that the ministry was also carrying out its investigation into the death of Mosese Namuamua.

We note that the alleged assault happened on March 16 during the Nawaka 7s and it was reported to the police.

Mosese was admitted to the ICU at the Nadi Hospital and died on April 20.

For those who think otherwise, bullying is not a rite of passage.

It shouldn’t be happening in the first place.

The harsh reality is that it is happening in some schools.

Our children must be taught to treat others with respect.

Some schools will teach them about respect and dignity, and appreciation of the rights of others.

These are lessons they may learn as well in religious institutions.

But shouldn’t they learn about this first at home?

Let’s face it, every time we tolerate bullying, we will always have it as an issue to deal with at the back of our minds.

It is a given that most students yearn for acceptance by their peers.

It is a natural process of life growing up.

It is when you factor in bullying that the school environment becomes a cause for anxiety and stress for some students.

There is uncertainty and insecurity, and great frustration and stress.

We must unite to fight bullies wherever they are.

If you discover your child is being bullied, raise it with the school.

Follow up until something is done about it.

As minister Vuniwaqa stressed, bullying should not be condoned.

It is unacceptable.

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