Mrs Augustina Etim, an education expert, has advocated zero tolerance for bullying in schools across the country.
She said, stringent measures must be put in place by schools to discourage bullying in all forms, in view of its effect on the wellbeing of children of school age.
She pointed out that bullying was a monster that must be kicked out of all educational system, adding that most adults with inferiority complex suffered one form of bullying or the other in their childhood.
According to her, a lot of people who fail to attain their potentials in live as adults had lost their sense of confidence as children due to bullying.
She called on schools, particularly boarding schools to take up the challenge to check the menace to help build a healthy and better society for all.
“Over the years, there has been transfer tradition of seniors, particularly in boarding schools, showing they have become seniors.
“When they remember their experiences as junior students they want to show they have become seniors by bullying the junior ones.
“That is why orientation is very key. Going straight to teaching without conditioning students’ minds on the dos and don’ts, will give room for them to exhibit unwanted behaviours.
“In our school for instance, as students come in, we let them know that bullying is a no go zone,” she said.
The principal kicked against the use of corporal punishment as a form of disciplinary measure, stressing that it was one of the ways being deployed to bully children.
She said, “we have zero tolerance for bullying and we do not allow corporal punishment because that is one of the ways in which bullying takes place.
“Student to student corporal punishment is an offence and teacher to student punishment is not allowed.”
She pointed out ways to maintain discipline without going into corporal punishment, saying reward, denial and taking certain privileges away would instill discipline and in most cases better than corporal punishment.
Etim noted that avoiding display of wealth among students would equally go a long way in curtailing bullying.
She said in Hendon College for instance, students were not allowed to bring in any form of food item, adding that the school ensured that all students were served the same food at mealtimes.
She said the only exception was for students who might be on a special diet.
The principal disclosed that beyond bullying, there were other unwanted behaviours among students and members of staff that should be properly checked through effective supervision and monitoring.
She said, “as a school head, you cannot assume that the people who you left the children in their care are doing everything perfectly.
“In our school for instance, we have security guards, senior management staff and supervisors.
“We also talk to the children constantly about the consequences of violating laid down rules and regulations.
Etim called on schools to draft child protection policies, saying,”it is a must have for every school.”
NAN reports that bullying according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is
the use of strength or power to frighten or hurt weaker people.
NAN further reports that bullying could be physical, sexual, psychological, social, verbal and cyber bullying.
Meanwhile, in a 2019 report obtained from https://blogs.unicef.org, data from UNICEF indicated that “half of students aged 13 to 15 worldwide, around -150 million – report having experienced bullying or a physical fight.
In the same report, UNESCO indicated that “students who were bullied were two and a half times more likely to have trouble sleeping at night than those who were not bullied, and twice as likely to have seriously considered attempting suicide.”