Anti-bully steps by school

Jhinuk Mazumdar Jan 31, 2018 00:00 IST

Calcutta: A city school is encouraging children to report bullies inside the school and outside to curb the menace.

The Apeejay Schools has uploaded a questionnaire on the school website, asking if a student has been bullied or abused in school. It also talks of cyber bullying giving examples like using a student’s mobile phone to get him into trouble or to masquerade as someone else in the virtual world.

The school introduced the system some months ago and officials said students from its both campuses had sent in their response.

Students aren’t expected to write their names but mention class, section and gender in the forms. But if any student identifies himself/herself, the school will not disclose it, an official said.

Bullying starts with teasing in the class and goes up to body shaming or targeting others on social media, which has far-reaching consequences, the official said.

The form asks if a student has faced a cyber bully and if they reported the matter and to whom and if he/she is aware of the school’s anti bullying policy.

The school has tried to address child sexual abuse and given details of whom to contact in school in such cases. The school has asked students what steps it should take to tackle such matters.

The initiative is part of the legal awareness campaign, following the CBSE guideline to curb physical and cyber bullying, the school official said.

Bullying happens in various ways and forms, Reeta Chatterjee, principal of Apeejay Schools, said. “If we have a mechanism, children will know whom to report such matter or talk to so that they don’t feel lost.”

There have been reports of children being ostracised by the class or by a group of friends or facing threats of settling a score on the school bus. Students have complained of abusive pool car drivers.

“Even if students don’t write their names, teachers can tactfully speak to the class and address the matter,” Chatterjee said.

The school has framed an anti-bullying committee in a class with students as members as a pilot project. It will start in all classes from April.

“Such devices (forms) are helpful for children to open up because often they cannot talk about their peer group for fear of being ostracised in class. But this gives them a space to voice out,” Saswati Dasgupta, the legal studies teacher at Apeejay Park Street said.

Dasgupta goes through the students’ form.