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Bullying is an unwanted yet a ubiquitous phenomenon. It happens anywhere where there are human beings and animals. A display of power over weaker beings is bullying as defined here.
ICSE Board has announced Anti Bullying Measures for all schools.
School level interventions
1. The message in all schools that “Bullying is strictly prohibited inside the school premises and no such act will go unnoticed or unpunished” may be clearly stated in the school prospectus and other guidelines circulated by the school.
2. They should provide a confidential way for students to report about any incidence which is of concern to them. Structures and procedures must be established to provide accessible, confidential, secure and effective means of reporting incidents of bullying, for victims and for bystanders who are aware of it taking place and to identify and manage incidents of bullying, includin9- appropriate counseling and sanctions /punishments on those engaged in bullying. For eg; an Anti- Bullying Committee may be constituted in school, comprising of Vice- Principal, a Senior teacher, School Doctor, Counsellor, PTA representative, School Management representative , Legal representative, etc whose roles and responsibilities would include (i) development and review of School Bullying Prevention Plan,(ii) development and implementing bullying prevention programmes,(iii) developing training programmes for staff, students, and parents, (i) creating awareness through various programmes(v) being vigilant and observing signs of bullying and responding quickly and sensitively(vi) names and contact numbers of members of the committee should be clearly displayed everywhere in the school premises, etc.
3. Arrangements for a Counsellor for Primary, and Middle, and for Secondary and Senior Secondary school may be made where possible, occurrence of acts of bullying and ragging has more probability in case of residential schools due to the amount of time spent together by students, making it essential that Counsellors and Wardens in boarding and residential schools need to be sensitized to the changing dynamics of student interaction. They should be empathetic and approachable so that students can confide in them. “Sentinels/ Monitors” may be appointed by the school management. These sentinels may be from the prefectorial /school council board of the schools or those who had been victims of bullying. Sentinels should be keen observers and thoroughly trained for ‘risky situations’. They must report cases of bullying in a non- threatening/polite manner.
4. The students are sensitized about human rights, democratic values, respect for diversity and equality, and respect for privacy and dignity of others. Schools must take initiative to conduct activities to educate and develop the understanding of students, staff and parents about the problem and effects of bullying. It is essential that schools take initiatives to provide Adolescence Education, Life Skills education, Values Education, Human Rights, Gender Sensitivity, Self-Esteem, Empathy, Interpersonal Communication, coping with stress and emotions, dealing with anger, and resisting peer pressure tleed ’10 be conscientiously taken up in the activity periods. These can take the form of role plays, street- theater (nukkad-natak), group-discussions, debates, special assemblies in schools, poster competitions, etc. Anti-bullying campaigns and training programmes may also be organized.
5. The family background and values play a very crucial role in emotional and psychological well-being of a child. The role of parents must be reinforced in Parent Teacher Meetings and representation in various other school Committees. There is a need for orientation and sensitization of the community and thus parents should also be oriented parents must be motivated to support the school in bullying-prevention efforts. They must be sensitized to report in confidence about any act of bullying which is brought to their notice by their child. Orientation programme may be conducted for the school staff and teachers on regular basis.
6. Curriculum for Teacher training courses should mandatorily include topics on sensitization and prevention of bullying in schools.
7. The methods of intervention are as important as methods of prevention. It is recommended that there be a graded response system to address the cases of bullying and a clear cut process needs to be followed by schools as there might be cases which deserve utmost attention and stringent action. The responsibility and authority of school administration must be defined.The implications of neglect must also be clearly defined. School’s decision, taken after following process of fair investigation, should not be ordinarily challengeable. Comprehensive guidelines may be developed for School Management which includes the various actions and penalties which may be taken by the School Management as per observation and understanding the gravity of the misconduct. Some of the recommended actions include: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) Oral/written warning. Suspension from attending classes/school for a specified period.authorityding or cancelling the results. Imposition of fine upto a specified amount Expulsion/rustication from school in rarest of rare cases. The option of transferring a student from one school to another school may also be looked into.
8. It is the responsibility of the school that the post-bullying atmosphere is calmed down. The school must be cautious that the victim/bully is not branded and he/she might be given opportunities for change.
9. It is very critical to promote an atmosphere of confidence and trust among every student and to provide a platform to students where they can raise their concerns. A confident reporting system may be established that allows students to report victimization. Schools may keep a complain suggestion box and regularly monitor the feedback received. The necessary issues may be discussed and appropriately addressed. If there are any good suggestions received from the students, these should be announced in assemblies and be articulated in school functions. Strategies may be developed to reward students for positive behaviour. For younger children, age appropriate communication strategies should be developed and teachers should engage in dialogue with them to identify any problem. The role of class teacher, counsellor, school nurse/doctor may be enriched and children should be motivated and made aware with whom they can discuss such matters with confidentiality.
10. Engage all students, teaching and non-teaching staff and parents in the effort against bullying on a continual basis, as part of the moral and administrative fabric of the school.
Download: ICSE Bullying and Ragging Extract (Lot of spelling error and repetition in this pdf as downloaded from CICSE.org site)
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