ALWAYS eager to go to school until recently, Joshua now throws a tantrum and it takes his mother, Irene Chua, half an hour to cajole him to get ready for school.
“He cries and throws a tantrum, refusing to get into his uniform. It always ends up with me yelling at him and forcing him to get on the school bus,” says Chua.
The reason: Joshua, a mere eight-year-old, is a victim of bullying at his school.
“Once he came home bleeding from his arms and face. I thought he injured himself from a fall, but he said it was two bigger boys in his school who had beat him up,” she adds.
Joshua recalls the incident clearly: “They pulled me behind the staircase and used a chair to hit me about 20 times. I screamed but no one came to help; my friends just watched in fear.”
According to Chua, the school authorities and probably even the district education officers know what is going on, but fail to take action.
''I have spoken to the principal several times but it’s all swept under the carpet. They don't want to show they have problems in school, for fear that adverse publicity will tarnish their image,” she says.
Another victim, Richard, who is shy, thin and fragile looking,was subjected to severe bullying by students both his age and older merely a week after entering Year One. His mother, Alice Tan was shocked to discover her son a victim of bullying. ”As he is a sensitive boy, he often comes home crying when he gets bullied. It is very sad to know that he cannot enjoy going to school, thanks to some other kids' idea of fun,” she says.
* All names have been changed.