Stop the bullying


Recently, my 10-year-old son was deliberately shoved into a drain by a group of boys while he was walking from the school canteen to his class during recess.

He was injured and to make things worse, the bullies mocked him and said, “Anak jantan apa ni? Kena tolak sikit, menangis!” (What sort of a boy are you? Crying over a little shove!)

Feeling physically and emotionally hurt, my son walked away. He brushed off the dirt and tended to his bruises, too scared to report the matter to a teacher because none of the witnesses offered to help.

Parents like me are worried at the rising number of bullying incidents in school.

Verbal profanities, body shaming, physical assaults, name-calling and spreading of rumours are just some of the abuses our vulnerable children are subjected to.

If we do not address the problem urgently, it is really going to cost us dearly.

Bullying, which even happens in kindergarten, often starts with name-calling, which can quickly escalate to hurtful, racist remarks and profanities that can mentally scar a victim. Crying only leads to continuous attacks as bullying develops into a habit.

Physical assaults happen to those who are most vulnerable as they do not have the support of those around them.

Upon reflection, one will come to realise that in most cases, bullies are created at home. What parents say and do are closely observed by their children and the behaviour is later emulated in school when they pick on classmates who, to them, may appear weak.

It is the duty of parents to advise and remind their children not to bully others and if they are victims of bullying, to immediately alert the authorities.

Teachers must also be vigilant and train prefects to be on the lookout for incidents of bullying.

At times, negligence on the teachers’ part causes bullies to be empowered. Dismissing victims who come to them with a complaint is a grave mistake that could result in the loss of a life.

Everyone must play a role in nipping this issue in the bud before our schools become infamous for bullying. Regular police patrols can help discourage such behaviour outside of the school compounds.

School administrators must act on reports of bullying and reprimand those responsible for inflicting pain on others.

Students must be taught to reach out to their classmates and inform their teachers if they spot someone being victimised.

Together, we can save our children and teach the bullies a lesson.

DR MUHAMMAD NOOR ABDUL AZIZ

Senior lecturer School of Education

Universiti Utara Malaysia

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