The bullying trend

By Giorgia Ziliani, Children's Human Rights Network

Imagine going to school, holding your books in your hands with your heavy backpack on your shoulders, walking slowly, looking at your feet and the floor, trying not to exchange looks with anyone. Imagine trying to be as invisible as possible so that, at least for one morning, you can be safe from bullies before the school bell. 

Imagine going to school knowing that it is going to be a nightmare every day, because you are being bullied by a group of your fellow pupils, who push, attack and insult you. 

This sense of fear and humiliation should not be part of any school environment. However, many children every day are victims of this kind of verbal and physical abuse. 

Secondary school teachers confirm that bullying is increasing in schools, especially in the UK where cyber-bullying has caused levels of bullying to increase by 40% Many schools all over the world admit to struggling to control this critical issue.

It is getting worse, although this issue is being ignored. In many cases, this terrible experience is being wrongly seen as just an inevitable part of everyone’s childhood and teenage years. 

There should be nothing normal about it. Louie Tom Fenton, a 12-year-old boy, was found dead on 19 January.  Louie was bullied for being vegan, and other students would throw meat at him during lunch break.  To avoid bullying, Louie started eating outside and smoking to control his panic and stress. He eventually took his own life.

Too many children, who are victims of bullying, are resorting to extreme measure to try and deal with the resulting stress, anxiety and depression.  They can develop low self-esteem, and can start thinking that maybe this is what they deserve. That there is no escape.

Teachers have a duty to help children in these situations, and to make sure they establish values of tolerance and respect in the classroom. This is essential for the personal development of all children. Prevention of childhood trauma from bullying has to be the highest priority in all schools. For the sake of all children. 

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