A Nightmare Called Bullying
Going to school was a torture! Robby (not his real name) woke up every day and vomited most mornings. He refused to go to school. Little did his parents know that he was repeatedly humiliated, laughed at, criticized, isolated and ostracized by his classmates who enjoyed making his life miserable in every possible way. He hardly had food to eat because the kids stole his baon or confiscated his lunch. He wanted to escape the daily torment in school and the only way to do so was to become absent. His poor appetite and frequent nightmares have alarmed his parents. To make matters worse, other students just watch and do nothing—afraid of becoming the next targets. In another school, the exact same thing was happening to Kaira (not her real name).
Robby and Kaira felt completely alone. Do you know children like them? If you do, bullying can sadly lead to depression and suicide. Awareness and prevention are crucial.
- Know what bullying is. Bullying involves bullies, victims and bystanders. There is often a perceived or real power imbalance between bullies and victims. Repetitive aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviors are directed towards the victims.
- Bullying may lead to suicide. Victims suffer months and years of emotional and physical torture, which horribly affects their mental health. Parents and teachers need to show immediate support to make them feel less alone.
- Know that it is punishable by law. Schools are enforcing the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10627). Know your rights.
- Refuse to become a bystander. Report bullying incidents to your teachers and appropriate school authorities.
- Approach and support the victims. Stand up to the bullies. Make victims feel that they are not alone. Schools should not tolerate bullying.
- Watch out for signs— Your child might prefer to be alone, refuse to talk, withdraw from usual activities, attempt to hide bruises, show physical symptoms (e.g. headaches, loose bowel, stomachaches), have a change in appetite, and make excuses not to go to school. Take immediate action when you notice any of these changes. Your child needs your help and support!
- Talk to your child— Be open and not demanding. Be patient and not forceful. Be there for your child.
- Talk to the school— Request for a conference with school authorities. When incidents are repeated with your child, write and send a complaint.
End bullying. Now.