Bullying has been taking centre stage in the media recently.
According to education standards watchdog, Ofsted, nearly half of all pupils have suffered some form of bullying at school, with 58% of those in primary schools and 41% in secondary’s claiming they had been picked on, though how much of this was from teachers and how much from other pupils was not revealed. What was clear was that mostly the abuse concerned the way the abused looked, including hair colour, weight and the wearing of spectacles. Some teachers pointed out that the parents and carers of the children harboured racist, homophobic and aggressive attitudes that were at odds with the values they were trying to instil.
Bullying can have tragic consequences, witness the 12-year old boy from Harrogate who hanged himself in June, reportedly over being bullied.
Bullying increasingly takes place online. Charity Beatbullying advises that 27% of bullied 8-11 year olds experienced the abuse courtesy of the internet, often as they played online games. And sick internet trolls add to the trend, bravely bullying anonymously, though there are encouraging stories of those who have successfully fought the trolls back and won the right to identify them.
In April this year an 11 year old boy, Marcus Fadina was raising money for charity in Dagenham, dressed in a red nose day outfit and had forgotten to carry his Zip Oyster photo card permit which allowed him to travel free on the buses. A caring bus inspector felt the appropriate course of action was to give the black child an £80 fine and turn him off the bus into the hands of the police.
A good example of bullying, to inspire our kids, from those nice, charitable adults at Boris Johnson’s Transport for London?