The government is going to formulate an anti-bullying policy to protect the students from physical or mental harrasments in schools and colleges across the country.
The Education Ministry’s secondary and higher education division finalized the draft of the anti-bullying policy following a directive of the High Court.Ministry sources said on Saturday a workshop was held on anti-bullying policy-2019 at Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS) where the education officers, teachers and guardians from across the country participated.
The ministry will issue a gazette notification soon. Sources at the ministry said the use of Facebook at school, carrying ICT devices, taking pictures, videos and doing politics at schools and colleges will be prohibited after the policy is introduced.
It also proposed that if any students violate the rules, he or she will be suspended for their respective educational institution. The role of family, society and schools were also mentioned at the policy regarding the prevention of bullying.
What is bulling?
According to the draft policy, bullying can be defined as hurtful aggressive behavior, repeated over a period of time and which makes it difficult for the victim to defend.
Bullying can be carried out physically, verbally, emotionally or through cyberspace.Direct forms of bullying include physical violence and threats, verbal assaults and taunts, the destruction of property, extortion, and unwanted sexual interest or contact.
Examples of indirect forms of bullying include ignoring and withdrawal of friendship, isolating, excluding, cyber bullying, malicious gossip and spreading rumours, and abusive or oppressive graffiti.
The draft policy further said bullying may take place for many reasons or for no apparent reason, although there is usually a real or imagined difference. The difference may be related to race, health, religion, culture, social class, family circumstances, or gender and sexual orientation.
Bullying may take place between students, between adults or between students and adults. None of these forms of bullying or intimidation is acceptable, it said.
The draft policy states that the educational institutions should focus more on teaching values to the students and take zero tolerance policy against the bullying.
An awareness campaign is necessary so that students can learn that punitive action will be meted out if anyone is involved with school bullying while the message should be delivered to the students that Transfer Certificate (TC) will be provided form school for the crime.
It also suggested that in case of bullying, immediate action must be taken and TC will be given to the accused if needed. But the corporal punishment will not be allowed in this matter.
However, no student can be physically hurt, if needed, the counseling need to done.
It is necessary to install CCTV cameras on the school premises, corridors, and classrooms along with strong monitoring to prevent bullying.
Apart from creating awareness through drama, movies regarding anti-bullying, measures will be taken to stage the dramas with the participation of students.
The victim of bullying has to be given a mental support first. In this case teachers, employees have to play a key role. Bullying is not a crime, but school authorities can seek police help if needed.
Teachers should be given sufficient authority to carry out the rules and regulations without any stress.
Regarding the current cyber bullying problems it was mentioned at the anti-bullying policy that Cyber bullying such as sending nasty messages, revealing secrets to the media, threatening online is a new issue at present. Students need to discourage the use of social media to prevent the cyber bullying.
The behaviour of both bullying victims and its responsible person will have to be changed through counseling carefully. File should be maintained for both bullying victims and its maker as the records will be helpful in making decisions later.
Emphasis should be given on preventing students with disabilities from being physically hurt. The group bullying students need to keep each other separated. It has been proposed to change their section if necessary.
About the parent role, it has been mentioned that parents will have to encourage their children to follow school rules, maintain good relationships with other students or friends.
The students need to be taught values so they don’t get involved with bullying. Parents should refrain from engaging in conflicts without knowing details regarding the bullying.
Parents should not engage in any disputes with anyone in front of their children. Parents will have to cooperate with school authorities without opposing, if the institution takes any measures against students involved with bullying.
On December 4 last year, the High Court bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and KM Kamrul Kader issued a suo-moto rule to formulate the anti-bulling policy, following the suicide of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College student Aritry Adhikary.
Afterwards on March 5, the Education Ministry formed a seven-member committee to formulate anti-bullying policy for school.