The very first day in the new school started off well as her teacher took her to the playground but, when I went back to pick her, I was surprised that my otherwise playful, active child had cried in the class! As soon as she saw me she hugged me and said, “There are too many Solankis in this class and they don’t like me! Let’s go back! " It was only because of her class teachers proactive steps, the next day onwards, that she was accepted in the class. To the extent that she won a prize in English recitation competition and had made five friends by the end of the session.
Cartoon shows such as Doremon, Bas Karo Henry, Chota Bheem, Vir the Robot Boy and Keemon Ache have become extremely popular amongst children because these serials help the meeky, geeky, feeble young ones to relate to the protagonists who are otherwise normal children like them who are helped to win over their bully friends by Super heroes and/ or their Robots. Hence, the characters of Kalia, Jian and so on signify those bullies from whom all young children want to break free. Looking at, why at all do we get bullied we need to understand who are the ones that Kalia and Jian bully? Young boys and girls like Nobita, Dholu-Polu who are actually not Superheroes but are well accepted in the class.
These students who are bullied or are made fun of because they are not actually dumb idiots. Instead, they are loved and well spoken to by their teachers, parents and fellow classmates. Generally, they are good at completing every task in time. They finish their home work in time. Also, they are good at one of the co-curricular activities such as singing, drawing, debates or may be sports. But, they are not very assertive of themselves in a social group. They lack aggression, probably, due to which they do not always reply back or pay any attention to negative comments. As a result, the gossip-mongers, bullies of the group/ class become overconfident and feel they are not going to be questioned/ threatened. Thus starts the legacy of daily bullying. Till, one day the child loses complete self-esteem and the bully enjoys sheer lack of compassion in social interaction. The teachers, other students and parents may notice these changes but may misinterpret them as being the symptoms of adolescence or burden of studies.
This is where the counsellor, school staff and principal become pivotal in their capacity of supervisors. Every school must have an environment where the child feels free to confide in any body whom he/ she wants. It may not necessarily be the class or subject teachers. Every school can have a method of expression of thoughts/ feelings, to begin with. It can be anonymously done by students on specified timing or corners called Graffiti. Drop boxes near the principal’s office, staff rooms and/ or common areas like Library, Labs, Playgrounds, and Canteens can also help a person to discuss any issue bothering him/ her about the school.
Also, activities, during Life-Skills training can be aimed at reducing the aggression amongst many adolescents. One good anti-bullying method is to make Buddies instead of bullies.
Those who bully others may be made to become buddies of other bullies. This may make them realise what it means to be bullied. Role-plays can again, be an easy medium to make all students understand and resist bullying too. More than the students and teachers, the parents of those who bully need to be kept in picture. Generally, attention from parents and right guidance from them at crucial moments of life solves most of the issues related to identity crisis amongst school children. Recognition and appreciation of virtues in mass assemblies will further control the bullying habits of students.
Let us all come together and pledge to make our classrooms places where the mind and heart are truly free from fear and where our children can make buddies.......