Insults, humiliation, threats, marginalisation, many students around the world are victims of school harassment on a daily basis. I was part of these numbers from grade 6 through the 3rd year high school when everything exploded and things started getting better after that. I was very lucky, but not everyone get the same turn of event. For many bullying ends with mental illness or/and death. Bullying cannot be considered a normal part of children paths.
Verbal and psychological violence, remains much more discreet than physical harassment, but is no less hurtful. The problem is that it’s much harder to detect. Now a days, with social media, verbal and psychological violence can follow the child home, taking away any safe place or down time from the constant torment. In my case, the violence did become physical and there were adult witnesses and yet, no one would help. Everyone turned a blind eye, even thought what was happening should have been reported to police.
What happens at school, can’t stay at school. In some cases the bullying is criminal and the authorities need to be contacted.
The consequences of harassment in schools can be serious or even fatal. Considering the collection of pills I was gathering at the back of my wardrobe waiting for the appropriate time, I was very lucky my life changed in time. I lost of friend to suicide and I have a unique perspective and allows me to understand why she did so. Everyone has a limit. No one should have to find out what it is.
Bullying in schools is characterised by the use of different forms of violence. In my case, it started with my 6 grade teacher. I had just moved to the city and the teacher stood in front of the class and told everyone they had to be nice to me because I was from the farm and didn’t know what electricity or running water looked like. This was completely false and when I tried to speak up, she told me not to lie and then threatened to send me to the principle for lack of respect.
Victims of school harassment are much more likely to miss school, to avoid harassment, and are more likely to drop out of school. In high school, after the bullying became physically violent and threats to my life were made, I skipped school a lot and no one noticed because I was still getting good grades.
When a bullied child decides they have had enough and seek the help of a teacher, they are using every bit of courage they have to tell their stories. The insensitivity of the professor I when to for help is what made me snapped. It was only after I had a violent meltdown that teachers who had refused to help suddenly stepped in to protect the bullies from me. They were suddenly afraid of bad press. That’s not okay.
Teachers need proper training on how to recognise bullying, how to deal with the issue and how to help. This is vital.