Bullying in Educational Institutions in India
What is bullying?
Typically, bullying is the use of intimidation or superior strength with the intention to hurt people physically or emotionally. It is about the 'othering' of someone who does not fit the bully's notion of 'normal'.
Why are people bullied?
Bullying occurs to those who are perceived as not following the norm. The ‘outcastes’, as they are called, are the typical victims.
Is bullying more prevalent among specific age groups?
Statistics from 2020 tell us that children between the ages 8-17 are the most commonly affected.
Who are the typical bullies?
The typical bully has bad interpersonal problem-solving abilities and faces academic trouble. He/She has a negative attitude toward others as well as their own self, comes from houses with poor parenting and conflict, perceives the educational institute as negative and is negatively influenced by peers easily. While there are individual bullies, it can also be a group phenomenon where there are people supporting the bully. Persons involved in bullying are usually subjected to the same kind of environment.
What is the impact of bullying?
The impact varies from physical to mental and emotional. Survivors often face feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, anxiety, loneliness, suicidal behaviours and even PTSD, to name a few. Bullying also impacts the perpetrator and they are known to develop latent feelings of depression, suicidal thoughts and low socio-psychological outcomes.
What does the law in India say with respect to bullying?
- As of now, there is no specific law around bullying in India. However, the perpetrators can be tried under certain sections of the Indian Penal Code like- Punishment for Criminal Intimidation, Causing hurt and grievous hurt, Abetment to suicide, etc.
- The UGC released guidelines to curb the Menace of Ragging in 2009 and was applied to all institutes of higher education,
- Moreover, some states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc have a legislation on ragging.
What are the ways to handle a bully?
If you are being bullied, reach out to close friends, in-house counsellors or committees and/or anti-bullying helplines. Confiding in parents, and well-meaning relatives is another course of action. If you see someone being bullied, take due action on their behalf if they can’t themselves. If help isn’t available locally, you can contact KIRAN Helpline or NCW Helplines..
How can educational institutions ensure that anti-bullying measures are working?
Anti-bullying committees and in-house counsellors can be effective ways of dealing with the menace. Anti-bullying helplines too should be brought to the attention of the students. However, despite this, bullying won't stop unless there is a societal change in how children are conditioned, including teaching them that they are accountable for their actions.
How effective are anti-bullying measures?
Counsellors are overburdened and committees are understaffed since educational institutions don’t acknowledge bullying to be a severe threat to the lives of students. The need of the hour is a pan-India anti-bullying legislation and a discourse around the slow poison called bullying.