The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued guidelines, asking its schools to form anti-bullying committees.
The circular also says that the message - ‘Bullying is strictly prohibited inside the school premises and no such act will go unnoticed or punished’ - must be clearly mentioned in the school prospectus and other guidelines circulated by schools.
Bullying can be direct (through physical intimidation or attacks, verbal abuse, unwanted attention and advances, damaging property) or can be indirect (through spreading malicious rumours). It can also include cyber-bullying (sending unpleasant SMS messages, photos or emails, to the victim or to others), reads the circular.
The CBSE points out that bullying has severe detrimental effects on the victims. The effects can be immediate and can also be long-term.
“In every bullying situation, there are typically three key parties: the victim, the bully or bullies, and those who stand by (bystanders), who are aware of the bullying. Each of these three parties is affected negatively by bullying,” the guideline reads.
CBSE coordinator in Lucknow, Jawaid Alam Khan said the guidelines were a welcome move and these would be implemented in the larger interest of students.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE TO PREVENT IT?
An Anti-Bullying Committee may be constituted in schools, comprising of vice-principal, a senior teacher, school doctor, counsellor, PTA representative, school management representative, legal representative, peer educators etc.
Their responsibilities would include development and review of bullying prevention plan and its implementation, along with developing training programmes for staff, students, and parents, creating awareness, being vigilant and observing signs of bullying and responding quickly and sensitively. The responsibility of preventing any undesirable aspect of bullying rests jointly and also individually on all stakeholders, including the head of the institution, teachers, staff, students, parents and local community.
COUNSELLOR IS A MUST
Arrangements for a counsellor for primary, middle, secondary and senior secondary school may be made where possible. Occurrence of bullying and ragging is more probable in case of residential schools due to the amount of time spent together by students, making it essential that counsellors and wardens in such schools are sensitised to the changing dynamics of student interaction.
SENSITISATION OF STUDENTS
It is necessary that students are sensitised about human rights, democratic values, respect for diversity and privacy 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.
Life skills education including building of positive self-esteem, empathy, dealing with anger, and resisting peer pressure need to be conscientiously taken up.
Family background and values play a crucial role in emotional and psychological well being of a child. The role of parents must be reinforced in parent-teacher meetings and other school committees.