Did you know? Their peers bully 1 in 3 students worldwide, and those frequently bullied are 3 times more likely to feel like outsiders at school. 2 times more likely to miss school and have difficulties concentrating in class, and 2 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
School is a crucial institution for developing well-rounded and balanced individuals — physically, mentally, and spiritually. Globally, there is a strong emphasis on human well-being, necessitating the formulation of effective strategies to achieve these aims, which includes eliminating all forms of school violence. The role of schools extends beyond academic activities, as they also play a vital part in instilling moral values in students to ensure the quality of future generations. Education is an ongoing effort to enhance the quality of life, encompassing knowledge, skills and competencies, and moral and social values for students.
Social misconduct among students is a pervasive issue, existing across countries regardless of their development status. Past studies have shown that adolescents often exhibit challenging behaviors due to their psychological development. However, the problem of discipline violations in schools remains unresolved, causing dissatisfaction among educators, parents, and the government.
Instances of student misconduct frequently make headlines, highlighting the need for schools to be safe environments for teaching and learning. Despite the implementation of rules and disciplinary measures, student misbehavior persists and continues to increase annually. Some notable problems include deviant and delinquent behaviors, most notably bullying among primary and secondary school students.
Bullying in schools takes various forms, primarily categorized as physical and psychological, with cyberbullying becoming increasingly common. Regardless of the type, bullying negatively affects students and the overall school environment. Research indicates a significant percentage of both secondary and primary school students engage in bullying behaviors.
Bullying often involves an imbalance of power and can have severe lifelong consequences for victims, such as feeling like outsiders, missing school, and experiencing mental health issues. Tackling bullying is essential to ensure students’ right to education, health, and well-being. The rise in reported incidents highlights the urgent need for a safe and supportive school environment to enhance learner outcomes. Specific actions must be taken to address this concerning issue.
Schools should be safe and supportive environments for young people, free from bullying. Addressing school bullying requires a comprehensive whole-education approach that involves teachers, parents, policymakers, and the entire community. All children have the right to inclusive education and a culture of safety, which is everyone’s responsibility to build.
Teachers and parents play crucial roles in addressing bullying, and the support they receive is essential. Responsive teachers can make a significant difference in supporting students who have been bullied. The UNESCO report titled “Behind the Numbers: Ending School Violence and Bullying” emphasizes the need for legal, policy, and educational reforms. It calls for empowering curricula that teach children about their rights and respect, teacher training on recognizing and responding to bullying, positive school environments, reporting and support mechanisms, and evidence-based monitoring and evaluation.
While some progress has been made in reducing bullying, the pandemic has heightened the risk of cyberbullying as online activities have increased and support systems become limited. This further emphasizes the crucial role of schools as safe spaces for students. To combat this troubling trend, it is crucial to address the root causes of violence, promote a culture of respect in schools, and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to violence overall. Achieving this requires partnerships and participation across sectors to provide interventions and support for students who are more vulnerable in the digital realm.
All in all, bullying can damage the reputation of educational institutions globally. Immediate and effective measures are needed to prevent the spread of bullying and maintain a conducive learning environment at school. Strategies to address bullying should consider socio-cultural factors, norms, and the background of the society to ensure their appropriateness. Parents, schools, and society must collaborate to create a safe environment that prevents bullying.
Two main types of strategies have emerged: preventive and punitive measures. Preventive measures include raising awareness, promoting respect for others, emphasizing adherence to school values, and establishing reporting systems. Corrective measures hold students accountable for their behavior through disciplinary rules. Proactive preventive measures are more effective than reactive measures in reducing bullying incidents.
The global initiative known as “Safe to Learn” strives to eradicate school violence, enabling every child to receive an education, flourish, and pursue their aspirations. Every year, on the first Thursday of November, the International Day against Violence and Bullying at School Including Cyberbullying serves as a reminder of the profound consequences of such acts. It reaffirms our dedication to eliminating all forms of school violence.
In the quest for quality education and the well-being of students, the battle against school violence and bullying rages on. As headlines continue to expose the harsh reality of these issues, schools must become sanctuaries of safety, nurturing environments that empower every student. Together, teachers, parents, policymakers, and communities must unite, embracing a comprehensive approach to eradicating bullying. Through awareness, respect, preventive measures, and a commitment to accountability, we can build a culture that ensures every child’s right to a safe and inclusive education. Let us stand firm against violence, fostering a world where every student can thrive, unhindered by fear or torment.
Aligned with its mission to reduce education and employment inequality, the Equitable Education Fund (EEF) Thailand plays a vital role in creating a safe and inclusive educational environment. By addressing the root causes of violence and bullying, EEF promotes equitable access to quality education and fosters respect and inclusivity. Through awareness campaigns, support systems, and policy advocacy, EEF actively works towards eradicating bullying and violence in schools. Through collaboration with stakeholders and evidence-based interventions, EEF strives to ensure that every child in Thailand can thrive academically and emotionally, free from the fear of bullying and violence.
- School Bullying In Southeast Asia Countries: Categories, Elements And Incidences. By Sayuti Ab Ghani, Burhanuddin Jalal, Afifah Quraishah Abdul Nasir, Mohd Mahzan Awang. https://psychosocial.com/article/PR200642/30426/
- School bullying in the Asia-Pacific affects us all. By Jenelle Babb, Regional Advisor on Education for Health and Well-being at UNESCO Asia and the Pacific Regional Bureau for Education, and Danika DeCarlo-Slobodnik, a UNESCO Bangkok intern and master’s student in Criminology at the University of Ottawa. https://bangkok.unesco.org/content/ school-bullying-asia-pacific-affects-us-all