LGBT children, teens and young adults are at increased risk for bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors, compared to their heterosexual peers.
A survey conducted over a 10 year period time in the United States found out that
- Eight in ten LGBT students had been verbally harassed at school
- Four in ten had been physically harassed at school
- Six in ten felt unsafe at school
- One in five had been the victim of a physical assault at school
If you think Indian children don’t experience bullying or harassment and Indian schools are safe from such behavior, please think again.
Here is a first-hand account :
Pain By Shridhar Sadasivan
In this part-fiction, part-reality piece Shridhar Sadasivan narrates the bullying he went through during his school days in Madurai, India.
There are several other stories. Bullying is not “kids being kids”. It scars children physically and emotionally, and sometimes they remain scarred forever.
Following the historic July 2009 Naz Foundation verdict that decriminalized homosexuality in India, there is an increased visibility of LGBT people. Anecdotally, this has had an effect on all segments of the society including children and young adults. As educators and educational institutions, it is your responsibility to provide a safe space for every child to learn happily and peacefully. The best way to handle bullying and harassment is to create a strong anti-bullying and anti-harassment policy and enforce it strictly and meaningfully.
How to handle bullying in schools:
- Drop by unexpectedly to observe the class in a less-structured situation (at lunch, on the playgrounds etc..)
- Hot spots for bullying :
- Play ground
- School bus
- Restrooms / Gym locker rooms
- Watch for signs of bullying. Sings of direct bullying include hitting, pushing and kicking.Also look for prolonged name calling, teasing and other forms of verbal harassment.
- Stop bad behavior immediately every time you see it. Approach the child responsible and describe the negative behavior, explain why it is wrong and impose a consequence based on your school guidelines. ( Warning, Apology to victim, Time out etc..)
- Don’t assume any incident as an one-time or isolated occurrence. Look for patterns.
- Here are some of the warning signs that a kid is being bullied
- Appears depressed, sad or lost
- Sudden loss of interest in school and school work
- Less or no friends
- Prefers to be alone and avoids group activities
- Appears afraid to attend a class or do a particular activity
- Pattern of sickness ( to avoid a particular day or class )
- Teach kids to be assertive
- Respond to taunts, teasing, insults with a bland response ( “Oh!”, “So?”, “May be”, “That’s your opinion” )
- Get away from the situation.
- Say “NO” loudly and firmly, if you don’t want to do something, someone tells you to do.
- Clearly tell to the bully that you will definitely report the behavior to an adult.
- Report bullying behavior to adults immediately.
- Create a “Safe Room” at your school which is always staffed with adults. Educate the kids to drop by anytime they feel unsafe among their peers.
- Whenever appropriate call for a parent meeting and discuss bullying in your class.
| If you are a teacher or administrator associated with an educational institution in India, and would like to have somebody come and speak about bullying and how to control or reduce it, let Orinam know. We may be able to link you up with experts located in your area.|
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This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)