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Addressing school bullying should go with education reform

Popularity 4Viewed 4041 times 2016-5-19 21:42 |System category:News

Recently,China’s educational authority issued a special circular to curb school bullying, stipulating that primary and middle schools as well as secondary vocational schools nationwide must launch effective campaigns to eradicate campus violences like physical hurt, verbal attack and web defamation inflicted on students by their peers.  

The circular also rules that schools are obliged to improve policies in preventing and tackling bullying, establishing an operating hotline for reporting bullying cases, and initiating a contingency plan for serious bullying accidents.

The authority’s endeavour of specially tackling school bullying with an administration order on one hand reveals the severity of this matter, on the other hand exposes the inefficiency of current mechanisms in fighting school bullying. Nevertheless, only hinging on a blitz administrative campaign can’t address school bullying properly in the long run. 

The 21st Century Education Academy issued a report in April which says school bullying has been increasingly popular in most provinces’ rural and urban areas, and many bulling cases arise from trivial factors, like opinion difference, unhealthy jealousness and stereotype toward others. Another report done by several Chinese universities after sampling over 17,000 rural boarding students shows that 36.3 percent of them had been bullied two or three times per month.  Meanwhile, bullying cases going viral online have not been rare in recent years, which have challenged the social morality out of our expectation. 

The school bullying phenomenon is becoming so worrisome that initiating a blitz campaign to curb it becomes imperative. The circular says that the special campaign will be carried out in two phases. From April to July, comprehensive measures like informing students the severe consequence of school bullying by inviting polices and judicial to give lectures and strengthening school security will be taken, then a round of supervision campaign over the effectiveness of measures taken in the first phase will follow between September and December. 

In the short term, these measures and supervision activities will yield positive results, like reducing the number of bulling cases, informing students’ knowledge and the severity of this matter and raising schools’ awareness of protecting their students from being bullied. However, when this blitz campaign expires in December, nobody can assure that bullying cases will diminish gradually. Without a good understanding of the deep-rooted factors that have resulted in school bullying, addressing this problem in the long run can be out of reach.  Explicitly, our traditional views toward bully and some function deviations in our basic education have encouraged school bullying.      

In our context, bullying means mostly shenanigans done by naught students, no big deal. However, perpetrators in some bullying cases exposed online, who have cause noticeable physic and psychologic damages to others, should have been punished according to the law, albeit their bullying behaviours have always been watered down. In American, however, if students are hurt physically and psychologically, bullying perpetrators will subject to court prosecution. No wonder when a Chinese student who beat another Chinese student in an American school was sued with the torture and abuse charge, many Chinese consider employing a prosecution to deal with a bullying would have gone too far. 

Fundamentally speaking, high occurrence rate of school bullying has much to do with lacking three aspects in our basic education sector.  Firstly, there are few lessons regarding teaching students to abide by laws and regulations, so that some students hardly know bullying others would cause irreversible damages on the law level. It is true young students have unstable mindsets, but their immaturity should not have been used as an excuse to hurt others or get away with the bullying consequences.  Only instilling them with law awareness at an early age, can they really notice the boundary of their behaviours. 

Secondly, life education is absent in our basic education, which has emphasised examinations and marks for long. Introduced by American scholar Donal Waltz in 1968, life education underscores that people should love, respect, care and trust others to live up to their own life values. Habitually resorting to violence for disputes settlement among some students reveals that they lack sympathy and caring heart toward their peers. Hence bracket life education into their curriculum and teach them how to respect others,and then they will feel ashamed for bullying others. 

Thirdly, caring for “bad”students are not enough. Normally, students who have good performance in studies will be preferred, while those who don’t pay attention to their studies or score badly in exams are treated as underdogs. Statistics shows that bullying perpetrators, to a large extent, arise from “underdog” students. Teachers and classmates would easily tag and disparage them as evil type of person, and habitually keep a certain distance from them. However, nobody is born being underdogs, and one ignored reality lies in that these “underdogs” are usually born in an unhealthy environment. Because their parents educate them improperly and their eagerness for being loved is alway cast on with cold water, they opt to vent their frustration via bullying others. In a word, they are also victims of school bullying, who need help and consolation. 


To cub school bullying, a quick campaign introduced by the education authority is badly needed to prevent the matter from worsening. In addition, removing utilitarian soil out of our basic education and pay more attention to educating all-round human beings with an awareness of law-abiding, respecting others and self-loving should also high on the agenda, because imparting knowledge and cultivating people should be two important wheels of our basic education. Say no to school bullying, long-term wisdom should be in place. 

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (3 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2016-5-21 19:48
Thank you very much!!! we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-5-22 17:55
Time to take some actions ..
Reply Report BlondeAmber 2016-5-22 21:22
Bullying is schools seems to be a fair reflection to the amount of bullying that can be seen on the streets.
It is a case of 'do what I say, not what I do'.

Casual abuse of power is visible on a daily basis, especially when groups of people stand by and do nothing when people are being beaten up or tormented by others.

It is clearly obvious when people are so brave they either attack someone who is clearly in a much weaker position they are in, or attack in groups.

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