It’s not often that cases of bullying in schools, especially from elite ones in Bengaluru, are reported.
However, between March and August this year, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has received three complaints with serious implications from students studying in three premier institutions, making it sit up and take note of the problem. In all three instances, the school authorities remained complacent, despite the intensity of bullying and intimidation.
Following this, the Commission has decided to frame guidelines, holding school managements directly responsible for any untoward incident involving the physical, emotional and mental well-being of the student subjected to intimidation and torment.
In March, the Commission received a complaint from the mother of an aggrieved 12-year-old girl who was subjected to intense bullying and isolation. Incidentally, the girl who began bullying her in the beginning of the year not only happened to be her classmate, but also a good friend.
The girl who bullied her went to the extent of defacing the interiors of the washrooms in the school with expletives against the victim. Besides being verbally abused, the victim was isolated from the rest of the classmates and schoolmates. Despite the mother of the child approaching the school authorities, they remained unconcerned. The only action that the school took was to shift the bully to a different class. But the bullying continued.
Following the Commission’s intervention, both girls were made to undergo counselling.
The girl who was bullied continues to undergo counselling. On August 20, parents of both girls were subjected to counselling at the Commission. The lawyers representing the school and the education department were present during the counselling. According to the complainant, the intimidation has finally stopped.
In another case, a 10-year-old boy who is known for aggression, in a fit of rage, attacked and broke the arm of the boy he used to bully, in June.
The boy had stopped attending school. Despite the parents filing written complaints, the school authorities had dismissed it as a non-issue.
The parents approached the Commission in July, following which the school authorities were taken to task. The issue was resolved in the presence of a Nimhans psychiatrist. The Commission did not divulge details of the third incident, as the matter is still being investigated.
Commission chairperson Kripa Alva said that bullying was highly prevalent, especially in premier institutions. The problem could have been nipped in the bud, had they taken serious note of it. The Commission would convene a meeting involving heads of all the institutions shortly, and also write to Primary and Secondary Education Minister Kimmane Ratnakar in this regard, she said.
Alva said directives would be sent to all government and private schools for compulsory introduction of moral science classes.
Though no complaints were lodged in the last two years, the Commission took up two suo motu cases in 2013, and one case last year. All the cases are pending trial.
DH News Service