SNAP program welcome in C-K

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Sir: This letter is in response to the “Taking on bullying is a SNAP” news article published in The Chatham Voice on June 12. As a member of the Chatham-Kent community, I wish to commend Mr. Mike Neuts for bringing the SNAP program to our community schools. With the alarming reports of bullying incidents among children, particularly in schools which are supposed to be safe learning environments for all, an effective, well-researched intervention program such as SNAP is very much needed.

Bullying is a major social issue in our community. According to the Canadian Institute of Health Research (2012), at least one in three adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied. Victims of bullying are more likely to experience symptoms related to depression, which impacts their ability to function at school and their overall wellbeing.

Some children have also lost their lives due to injuries and, in some cases, suicide from feeling hopeless.

More so, children who bully others are more likely to become disengaged at school, leading to poor academic performance. With higher rates of substance abuse and aggressive behaviours, these children are also more likely to get into trouble with the law.

As a social work student with an interest in working with children, I was particularly elated to read that SNAP is an internationally recognized crime prevention program aimed at teaching children and their parents self-control and problem-solving skills.

The article mentioned that in Chatham, the SNAP training was being provided to children, teachers, and child and youth workers. I believe that this is an excellent approach, as several anti-bullying measures will be needed to combat this social issue.

However, the article did not mention if SNAP training is given to parents and guardians in Chatham. Given that children who have been identified with these behaviours often present with them at home and other environments, and the family is a major agent of socialization, I believe that providing SNAP training to parents and guardians in Chatham will create a greater sense of awareness on bullying, improve parenting skills, and help to develop problem-solving skills among members of the community.

Perpetrators of bullying come from families. These families are part of a community, a culture and a larger society. Teaching our children a culture of acceptance, respect, tolerance and love, and becoming good role models for our children will enable them to adopt positive values that will help them maintain good relationships with their families, peers, and members of the community.

Wokeyim Adagbor

Chatham

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