From early childhood Somu was always eager to go to school. He used to see children from the neighborhood, dressed up very smartly, carrying a bag of books on their back and waiting for the school bus. But, of course, he was too young yet to attend a regular school. His demands became so strong that in order to pacify him, his parents had to buy him a school bag and schoolbooks. They stitched for him the uniform of his favorite school and allowed him to dress up in it everyday, though he could not go to school yet.
Finally, Somu was admitted to school and he was truly happy. He was all dressed up and ready for school every morning well before the school bus arrived. He enjoyed his classes. He made many friends among his classmates. He liked his teachers. He came home happy every afternoon. He did his home work regularly and made rapid progress in his studies.
After 3 months of class things began to change gradually. Somu’s parents noticed that he was very tired and hungry when he returned home after school. Every now and then he would complain that he was too tired or had a headache and could not go to school that day. Sometimes he would lose his pencil; or a textbook was torn. At times his uniform was very dirty or even torn, and he had no good explanation for it. He did not talk cheerfully about his activities at school as he used to before.
Somu’s parents were very concerned. After several days of sitting with him and talking to him, one day he suddenly burst into tears and said that he did not want to go to school anymore. “But, why, my child”, asked his mother. “You always wanted so much to go to school, and you used to enjoy yourself so much there.”
Little by little the whole story of Somu poured out. A few weeks after Somu had joined school, a big boy from a higher class came to him. Manoj – that was the senior boy’s name came to Somu at lunch break and told him to open his lunch-box. Manoj took away the omelette in Somu’s lunch-box and threatened to beat him up if he complained to the teacher or told his parents. Soon this became a regular event. Manoj would snatch whatever he liked best from Somu’s lunch box. At times he took away his entire lunch. If Manoj lost his pencil, he would take that of Somu. If Somu resisted in any way, Manoj would tear up his textbook, or throw him to the ground, sit on him, give him a few blows and threaten to kill him. Somu was so young, small and weak that he believed the threats of Manoj. He was afraid. Somu’s parents now understood what was behind the change in his behaviour.
What Somu experienced at school is not rare. Many students come across bigger or older schoolmate who bully them. The parents of some of them are not like Somu’s parents. They think their children have really lost interest in studies. If they themselves are not very well educated, they may not find out the real reason behind the change in their child’s behaviour. They may allow them to stop studying. Many students drop out of school this way. Their entire future is ruined. Some other students survive at school, but suffer a lot of fear, pain and misery for several years.
Researchers in the United States of America reported in 2005 that bullying leave an effect on children that cannot be remedied later. Even in later life as adults, they flee from stressful situations rather than solve them. Children who are bullied lose self-confidence. When they grow older they may become depressed or violent.
What is bullying?
Bullies are people who frighten smaller or younger children. They use their physical strength to take away the belonging of their weaker companions. They may make them do things for them. From time to time they beat up classmates who are smaller than they are. They threaten them with even worse things if they complain to the teacher or their parents.
Why do people bully others?
Most bullies are not very intelligent.
- They do no shine out at school.
- They think badly about themselves.
- They feel they are not as good as others.
- They are not very popular with their companions.
- They are envious of those who do well in their studies.
- They think that by beating up some companions and taking away their things they show how brave they are.
- They think they will get the respect of others, that they will be admired. But of course, no one admires a bully. Instead the intelligent and successful students at school may be afraid of bullies, but actually despise them.
They see the violent behaviour of their elders and think it is the normal way for people to behave. They are made to suffer by people stronger than they are. So they cause suffering to others who are weaker than they are.
Some other who are bullies at school are bullies also at home. For one reason or another they have succeeded to get at home whatever they want to. No one can refuse them anything. They always get their way in their family. So they think they can do anything they want at school, too.
Still other bullies behave as they do because they do not get enough love and care at home. No one pays any attention to them. Perhaps their parents are too busy at work, or are sick, or have a lot of problems and worries. Their elders have no time to spend with them. No one respects them at home. So they look for attention and respect in this wrong way by bullying children smaller than they are.
Bullies are actually not brave people at all. They are afraid. They threaten only people who are weaker than they are. They never attack someone who is bigger than they are. If someone they are bullying all on a sudden stands up against them they become afraid. They stop bullying him and look for smaller victims. Also, when parents or teachers are informed of their behaviour bullies do not actually do what they threatened to do in order to frighten their victims. Instead, they become very afraid of punishment.
How to cope up with bullying: