10 March 2011

Bullying

We’ve been asking people what problems they’re dealing with, since my husband’s research involved dispute resolution, and one thing that’s come up is bullying in schools.  It’s not uncommon here for bullies to force other kids to pay them, which is a huge problem here since many kids’ families don’t have enough money to live comfortably, much less pay off bullies so their children can go to school.  There are reports every year of children committing suicide because they can’t pay off their tormenters.

So we’ve been asking students and teachers and directors what goes on at their schools.  It sounds like many schools in Tokmok are dealing with the problem by having children and adults assigned at all times to watch for any sort of bullying.  Since everyone knows the children aren’t likely to tell anyone what happened (nor, does it seem, are the parents- they don’t even seem to go to the teachers or directors at the school), the strategy is to have other watch to make sure it isn’t happening.  The kids and director we’ve talked to have assured us that things are okay at their schools.

It still seems to me that there would be plenty of opportunities for bullies to torment other kids, especially if no one is interested in going to anyone in authority about it.  But it’s good to know that people are trying to deal with this.

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