Bullying can threaten students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can negatively impact their ability to learn. What are the measures that schools can take to prevent bullying and make schools safer?
The Bar Association of India has defined bullying as “Systematically and chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees”. Bullying threatens students’ physical and emotional safety at school and can also negatively impact their ability to learn. A school can do a number of things to make their campus safer and prevent bullying. First, one must understand forms of bullying and their impact. While the direct form of bullying is visibly evident, indirect bullying is more difficult to identify as it involves multiple aggressors, victims, and bystanders. School officials and teachers must take steps to prevent bullying and other forms of abuse incurred by their students.
At DPS Jammu, an Integrated Child Development Programme (ICDP) has been designed for overall holistic development of the children in the age group 10-17 years. It is an effort made to check growing anger and violence among children and to provide them with loving care and guidance. The programme focuses on personality development, anger management, meditation, spiritual upliftment, group discussions, social issues, etc. through honing different life skills. It is a behavior development approach designed to address the balance of three areas: Knowledge, Attitude, and Skills. An effort is made to identify, activate and develop essential skills and social responsibilities to enable and enhance constructive interaction and development among children. The World Health Organization (WHO) having understood the enormous role life skills play in our lives, has already felt the need for inculcating life skills in the minds of students, the world over, as to quip these citizens of the future with important futuristic tools.
CBSE has shortlisted ten of the most fundamental life skills are: 1. Self Awareness, 2. Empathy, 3. Decision Making, 4. Problem-solving, 5. Effective communication, 6. Interpersonal Relations, 7. Creative Thinking, 8. Critical Thinking, 9. Coping with Emotional and 10. Coping with Stress.
At DPS Jammu, these skills have been bifurcated monthly. Taking up these life skills in the school not only helps to improve the school climate but also prevents bullying. It prevents the evil thoughts creeping into the minds of the children and empowers each child with values of love, respect, discipline, brotherhood, help and building for each other.
Apart from this, the school counselors can play an important role in addressing this issue. They should encourage the children being bullied to report the matter immediately so that they can get immediate help. They should regularly meet the children involved and help to resolve the psychological issues of both the bully as well as the victim and to also take into confidence, their families as well, to determine a solution. Further, schools can also incorporate the Bullying Prevention in their lesson plans and activities. Some of the suggested activities are:
- Presentation, speech and role play in stopping bullying.
- Creative writing such as a poem speaking out against bullying or a story or a skit teaching onlookers how to help.
- Through artistic work as a college, a poster, a pamphlet about the effects of bullying.
- Students should be involved in constructive activities like the discussion on effects of bullying to sensitize students and promote self-awareness.
- Counseling should be available to students who have bullied the bullies and the ones who help the bullies.
- Once in a week there should be school-wide events that strengthen the students’ views against bullying, there could be activities in each class such as designing posters, writing slogans.
Lastly, parents’ cooperation is very essential. Both the parents and their children must be made aware that bullying is an illegal offense, therefore the school has a zero tolerance for such behavior. Besides, parents themselves need to examine their family relationships to ensure that there is no bullying going on at home.
Undoubtedly, bullying impacts both the school system as well as the progress of the students, who suffer from symptoms of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Therefore, everyone right from the school authorities to parents, teachers, and students themselves have a serious responsibility to put an end this monster because, we should learn to treat people the way we want to be-with honesty, equality, love, kindness, and compassion.