A child in my class who was very vibrant, energetic and an active participant began to grow silent, withdrawn and also began to be quite reticent to answer or be a part of class activities. From being a first bencher, the child slowly started to move to the back of the class till eventually he began to skip quite a few days of class.
It was then that I began to hear accounts of beating in the shower room, name calling in the corridors and even racial attacks against the child who was a Muslim. Upon investigation, the children who were bullying him were seen to be from his own community. The bigger problem was that they did not like the fact that Faizal was ‘different’. He was also targeted by kids from other communities who called him a ‘Jihadi’.
The problem of bullying is one that occurs across all communities and is even seen irrespective of age, size, race and a number of other factors. Most of the time, these kids simply do not realize that they are harming their colleague seriously. The victim feels ashamed most of the time, considering it his own fault and to seek help externally would be all the more demeaning to the already fragile ego of the child.
Handling bullying is an extremely sensitive issue and parents and teachers have to be alert for changes in behavior, pay heed to conversations, notice if your child has been in a fight one too often and more. Many a time children learn such aggressive patterns of behavior from their parents or elders.
Children who are bullied or abused by figures of authority or their peers may be repeating the cycle in the school environment. It is important to make sure that you help these children find help from counselors or that you handle the situation if it is within your means to control it.