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Stand up against bullying

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Stand up against bullying. A case of bullying has surfaced in a prominent international school in Hyderabad.

A case of bullying has surfaced in a prominent international school in Hyderabad. A student is getting bullied in the school bus and in the school toilet. The boy refuses to go to the school which is a very serious concern for his parents. The kid is apprehensive of escalating the issue to the management as he is feeling that he may face retaliation from bullies. When enquired about this, the school management shrugged of the case stating that ‘It did not come to their notice’.

This is not just confined to this one school alone, there are umpteen schools which do not follow an anti-bullying programme.
Bullying is widespread and perhaps the most underreported problem which makes children’s life miserable. Bullying occurs where adult supervision is low or absent. School bullying refers to all types of bullying that takes place at school; it can happen in the school bus or in the area surrounding the school whether it is peer to peer bullying, bullying of younger children by older children, or bullying in which teacher is victim or a culprit.
It includes assault, tripping, intimidation, rumour spreading, destruction of others work and name calling. It is important to realise that sexual harassment and racial discrimination are also forms of illegal actions of bullying.
There are cases of bullying in the schools in Hyderabad and across AP.
Latha Model Mission School’s principal says, “Adult intervention is required in these situations. Ignoring the problem is never appropriate when a child is being hurt or frightened.”
Jyothi Raj a psychologist says, “Bullying leaves a profound impact on children’s mental health in the long run. Students, who get bullied, lose confidence in themselves, experience low self esteem, lose interest in activities they used to enjoy and most likely miss, skip, or drop out of the school. The extreme bullying may lash out in violent ways –the most serious being school shootings like in the US. Students who bully do not fare much better. They are most likely to get into frequent fights, have poor grades, perceive a negative climate at school and carry a weapon. These students are at increased risk to commit crime later in life.”
The most effective way to address is through school wide efforts that are evidence based and comprehensively focus on changing the climate of a school. Schools should create a bullying report system. They should create a climate in which bullying is not acceptable. Stern procedures should be employed for supervision, monitoring, investigating and resolving bullying programmes. The disciplinary action should be determined on the basis of facts found including the nature of the conduct, the age of the students involved. They should ensure that children are safe from bullying. Professional development for staff on identifying the signs of a student being bullied should be made mandatory. School professionals should respond to bullying problems that they observe. It is important to talk to kids. There should be a strategy to support the victims and counsel the bullies. Educating parents also plays a crucial role in anti-bullying programme.
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