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Published On: July 16, 2017 11:44 AM NPT By: Republica

Students’ take on bullying, harassment at school

Students’ take on bullying, harassment at school

Not everyone gets to have a picture-perfect high school experience. Few among us suffer at the hands of bullies, which affects us on an emotional and psychological level. While suggestions like “man up” and “let it go” are easy to give, the bitter recollection of being harassed at school is not something children can easily forget. Memories of being harassed by classmates and teachers persist and tend to impact our adult lives.  

While our society tends to easily empathize with the victims of bullying and harassment, it fails to recognize that students are harassed at schools more often than not. It also fails to understand that instances of bullying and harassment at schools go unreported if there is no separate segment of administration invested upon mitigating bullying and harassment.  

Shuvechchha Ghimire of My City interviewed some students of Campion College, Kupondole, to understand their experience with bullying and harassment. The students were of the view that school administrations often failed to play their part in mitigating aggressive behavior. More so, in assuring students that they could ask for help if they were bullied or harassed. Following are excerpts of the students’ recollection of their school life experiences.

When I was in the seventh grade, I was treated harshly by someone I thought was my best friend. She and I were inseparable before grade seven. But, in grade seven she was admitted to the hostel where she became friends with some really mean girls, most of whom derived pleasure in picking upon weak students. She used to throw food at me during lunch, ridicule my uniforms and pick names on me.  It was just a matter of time before all the other girls started picking on me too. I became a person of ridicule and laughter to the entire school. No one wanted to be my friend because I was “a loser” in both academics and extra-curricular. I started skipping school which earned me numerous punishments, by both my teachers and parents. 

I was able to recover only a year after. I changed my class section and cut myself off of her. These days, I am selective, and tend to hang out with people that share similar ideological values as mine. 

 

Pasang Lamu Sherpa, BBS first year student 

I don’t want to defame anyone in particular, but I did not feel particularly secure at my high school. There was a teacher who used to sweet-talk us to an extent that many started feeling insecure around him. We feared the teacher, and ended up not attending day-outs organized by the school, which almost always was attended by the teacher. He was a divorcee, and seemed to seek companionship in female students. I remember a particular instance when he started drinking in presence of my friends and ended up coercing them to “stay longer”. They ultimately were forced to flee away using pretext that they wanted to use the washroom. 
One of the reasons why we could never complain about the teacher to the administration was that he had been in the school for a long time. He used to live in school quarters and garnered administration’s trust. If only the administration knew what kind of intentions he had! Sad truth is the teacher is still in college, and it is only a matter of time before a girl falls on the teacher’s vicious trap. 

Prashanata Singh, BBS final year studnet 

I studied in a school that took segregation among boys and girls very seriously. That said, “There is not much that could prevent a teenage guy from developing a crush on his fellow junior.” My friend liked a girl immensely. Once, during lunch, he decided to express his love for her. He started with minor childish acts, like throwing papers to garner the girl’s attention. However, there was a tragic turn of events when he proposed the girl with an “I love you” and she fainted. While we later realized that the girl had medical issues that caused her to faint, the moment opened my eyes.  I realized that people can be extremely sensitive. What I might take as a jest could trigger extreme emotional responses in others. 
My friends and I were not let go of the event that easily. We had to make speeches in assembly for two weeks following the event – one of the reasons why I make it a point these days to understand the person better before making any types of advances. 

Pranuj Shrestha, BBS first year student 

In my hostel, seniors bullied juniors. It was almost a trend.  As a junior, I washed many of my senior’s clothes, polished their shoes, massaged them and did their assignments. When I became a senior myself, I practiced the ragging tradition for a while. There was an incident that embarrassed me and made me realize how wrong ragging was. A prank on a junior went wrong and the guy ended up with a fractured arm. I received few weeks’ suspension. While I am good friends with the guy now, I can never stop feeling shame and guilt for what I did. 
In retrospect, I was forced into being a bully because of the notion of revenge I felt for the system. Since there was no way for me to complain to the hostel warden as a junior — seniors would bully me at other times — I figured it was ok for me to vent on juniors as well.

Kinar Shrestha, BBS first year student 

I was bullied in school because I was fat. I was called humiliating names, and was body-shamed by students and teachers alike. For most of my life in secondary school, I believed what they said. I felt weak.  At times, I even hit people for calling me names. I tried a few different coping mechanisms, until finally deciding to change myself. 
After leaving school, I started working out regularly. Now I am considered fit.  However, there certainly are lessons I hold dear. 

Bibek Shrestha, BBA first year student

I was very weak in studies while in school. No matter how hard I worked at my academics, I could not bring myself to perform better. With time, my classmates started ridiculing me for my poor performance. My friends and teachers ended up saying things that impacted me severely. I have grown up since and now take harsh words as motivation, instead of ridicule. 

Sabi Manandhar, BBS first year student

Kids are not born bullies, they learn. There are traits that children learn from their parents and relatives which they later use to inflict pain among the weak. For instance, when a child hears that his parents called Madhesis degrading names, like ‘Vele’ and ‘Vaiya’, he is going to believe that his Madhesi classmates are inferior or outcasts and treat accordingly. These types of negative traits are passed down to children by parents, relatives and influential members of society. This ultimately leads to instances of bullying and harassment. 

Rajesh Ghimire, BBS first year student 

Kids are not born bullies, they learn. There are traits that children learn from their parents and relatives which they later use to inflict pain among the weak. For instance, when a child hears that his parents called Madhesis degrading names, like ‘Vele’ and ‘Vaiya’, he is going to believe that his Madhesi classmates are inferior or outcasts and treat accordingly. These types of negative traits are passed down to children by parents, relatives and influential members of society. This ultimately leads to instances of bullying and harassment.

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