UNICEF’s revelation that half of the world’s teens aged between 13 and 15 years are subjected to peer-to-peer violence in and around schools comes as a shocking news to people worldwide. Children are already victims of violent attacks and sexual assaults by adults which leaves each of us with heavy hearts. This news comes as another heavy blow to humanity leaving us all wondering whether humans, even kids have lost their humanity! This initiates the one-important query in each of our minds-How safe are the schools that we have sought admission into after sleepless nights standing in the queues and petty fights with our spouses regarding choosing the best school for our little ones.
Every School at Par in Inducing Peer-to-peer Violence
Whether an international school, luxury residential school or the lowly-considered government schools provide standard education to kids remains an unanswered question until now whereas we can be assured of the one fact that all of these educational institutions do nothing much to encourage amicability among fellow students. Moral science classes exist as a period in every school-going kid’s diary but often these are converted into math or science classes due to impending test cycles. Kids who rank high in marks and scores are left with not much values and culture instilled in them.
These violent attacks do not exclude physical punishments by teachers, some of which are even approved by the school committee-almost 720 million school-going children live in countries where such corporal punishments are not prohibited. Schools hailed to be a safe recluse against the outside corrupt world are proving themselves to be not safe anymore! Violence in any form-physical, sexual, mental-leaves a child with shattering side effects such as mental agony, stress, depression and a feeling of worthlessness. A kid unable to bear these succumbs to suicide finally. It’s usually kids who are victims of domestic violence, physical abuse or from economically low backgrounds who often end up being victims of peer violence at school. Suicide rates are steadily climbing up worldwide, but we keep neglecting the statistics. At www.firsteatright.com we have come up with workable ways to break away from the clutches of suicide and continue life in a positive frame of mind.
Globally, 1 in 3 students between the age group of 13 and 15 years are bullied and also, 1 in 3 of them are involved in physical fights. Three of every 10 students in 39 industrialized countries owe responsibility to bullying their peers. Without any discrimination both girls and boys experience buying. Difference lies entirely in the way these children take it to their minds. Girls deal with it much more emotionally as they are mostly victims of psychological forms of bullying whereas boys seek out vengeance in return of physical violence and threats, which they are primary victims of!
There are evidences showing how younger children are victims of physical punishment from teachers compared to adolescent students. Perfect examples of this come from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in India where 78% of 8-year-old students were physically punished by teachers compared to 34% of 15-year-old students.
Discrimination is a way of life to students these days. The son/daughter of an affluential person is given special treatment while children belonging to lower-economic classes are tossed and tormented by teachers themselves. Abstinence from completing pending work or failure to perform well in tests/examinations too are considered with a different mind frame while punishing each student. Some schools advocate the use of severe punishments by staff to improve school results without thinking about the child’s emotional well-being. A crying child who fears to attend school is either whacked by parents at home who are unaware of the conditions existing in school or forcefully pushed into the school campus the very next day. Finally, these kids end up getting addicted to drugs, might join a terrorist group or find some low-paid jobs whose income falls short of survival needs too! One might call this exaggeration, but this is how tiny little children who enter adolescence with dreams end up with unfulfilled wishes.
As the child ages, the degree of physical violence decreases but conflicts arising due to emotional violence remains unaltered. Meanwhile, disability increases the risk of emotional violence compared to physical violence.
UNICEF’s report also claims that violence involving weapons in schools such as knives and guns in school premises claim lives of numerous kids. Social media too plays its part by simplifying peer bullying by enabling teenagers to post humiliating, violent and hurtful contents with the tap of a button.
Movies, series, games and magazines-all of them play a vital part in stimulating a kid’s mind. Children believe in what they see. When you maintain a peaceful aura at home and school, kids are sure to grow up into disciplined adults who focus on their future. Else, we are giving them plenty of scope to let their minds wander into the wild!
We, as a community must help children open up and speak frankly about the violence they face at school. This is not feasible in a day or two but by gradually building a sense of trust, we can surely help our next generation overcome peer pressure and violence attacks. Schools hold ownership of coming up with preventive measures to end violence and maintain harmony among kids. Only when all of us work together can we stop cases of peer pressure and bullying.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.