Bullying just got bigger. Boarding schools have for long been notorious for bullying amongst students, but now, even day schools are getting there. The number of cases where students get involved in serious brawls amongst each other is going up steadily.
Take 18-year-old Sajid Imam - in St. Columba's, he frequently got into scraps with fellow students, so he shifted to Air Force Bal Bharti School, only to find himself on the other side of the knuckleduster as some of his classmates thought he had 'too much attitude' for a new boy about two weeks old.
Not too long ago, a senior student of Springdales, Dhaula Kuan, who lives as a PG in DLF, was beaten up by his roomies as he didn't answer the door. One of his friends, Varun (name changed) says, "When he called us, we landed with seven people armed with nanchaks and hockey sticks. The boys who had attacked our friend also called for reinforcements." In the scuffle that fol lowed, Varun had a split forehead from a brick thrown at him.
Violent vent: What forces school students to get so violent? Most of the blame goes to our aggressive and stress-inducing competitive environment, with avoidable help from TV and video games. Children today easily feel insulted, suffer ego-hurts and revel in rivalry. For many, settling scores becomes a priority to prove their might. Over the years, knuckledusters, hockey sticks and knives have replaced lathis and stones. No wonder, French soccer player Zinedine Zidane's head butt in the World Cup final had many youngsters nodding in glee.
So, how do schools tackle bullying? Principal of Modern School, Lata Vaidyanathan says, "Bullying has been an adolescent trait for years but such incidents have in creased as adolescence is setting in early. Parents and teachers should stop it when it ceases to be fun." Kamal Menon, princi pal of Mirambika School feels, "The stress of learning leads to such behaviour. Who or what is instigating the child has to be found out. Only then can we find a solution."
Child psychology: Besides physical damage, bullying leads to long-term psychological harm, which the child carries to adulthood. Dr Megha Hazuria Gore, clinical psychologist at Max Health Care says, "Bullying stems from jealousy and aggression is a natural fallout. Schools and parents need to find more positive ways like talking to resolve it." As Manju Kumari, mother of a 16-yearold boy says, "Children have to be taught to deal with issues with mature methods like talking rather than aggression." Words are mightier than the fists....