Take bullying by the horns

REALITY BITES

A video in which a Class VI student of a leading public school is pushing a Class VII student and is constantly hurling filthiest of abuses while roughing him up, has gone viral on social media.

Strong reactions from parents against this ‘bullying’ and discussions on the negative impact of social media is an expected reaction. But it is high time that we to go to the root of the problem and
help curb such deviant  social behaviour.

“Bullying is not new. It has become heinous because of depression, repression and frustration among kids. And, it is all due to a communication gap between a child, family and school, which needs to be addressed effectively, especially by schools and parents,” says Dr Jitendra Nagpal, senior psychiatrist and incharge of Department of Mental Health, Moolchand Hospital. 

Terming such behaviour amongst today’s kids “an issue of grave concern” which has to be looked from different dimension, he says “Personal consciousness of a child, family and school atmosphere, and exposure to social media, all play a crucial role.”
According to him, today children lack inspiration and are unable to draw a line between right and wrong. “It is an indication that not enough is being done at the school and parents’ front. If kids are introduced to effective life skills, cases of bullying could come down,” says Jitendra, who is also the chairman of Association of Indian School Counsellors and Allied Professionals.

He, therefore, considers schools as a viable platform for intensive teachers and parents training programme. “It will initiate and maintain a dialogue between students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders, sensitise them, promote life skills as abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour to deal effectively with challenges of everyday life,” says Jitendra.

The question, however is, are schools really making concrete efforts in this direction? “There is a denial of present in almost all schools,” says
Geetanjali Kumar, practising counsellor.

“I have been to so many schools where principals completely deny that kids in their school bully each other. But the moment I leave their room and see kids around me I can sense that many kids are victims of it,” she says.

According to her, schools are not turning a blind eye but they are unable to properly supervise. “They are not able to trace vulnerable areas in their schools where bullying takes place or students who are frequently found indulging into it,” says Geetanjali.
Amita Mulla Wattal, Principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road while expressing concern over the issue admits that bullying happens and that there is a need to address the issue in a holistic manner.

 “Wherever there are children in large number acts of bullying tend to happen. Yes, it has become very rampant today because children feel alienated. Since they see regression all around them, they consider it as a medium to vent their feeling.”
Given that in this age of peer-pressure and stiff competition, children, more than anyone else, are facing identity crises and going through low self esteem, are the schools playing their role in making them understand
reality and rekindle their  empathy?

“Schools need to play a larger role. They should have conversation with families, organise interactive workshops and activities to curb the situation,” says Amita.

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