Basic manners and respect antidote to scourge of bullying
The Times Editorial: The subject of school bullying raises its head with alarming frequency. Today's tragic tale has been repeated so many times in various newspapers and other media outlets. A child is picked on, taunted, physically or emotionally abused by other children in a school environment which does not immediately deal with the matter.
The bullying continues unabated until the child cannot bear it any longer. In the end, as is the case in this horrific tale of abuse, the child takes his life in a desperate attempt to end the nightmare that he inhabits.
The anecdotal information suggests that bullying is not a problem relegated to a poor or under-resourced school - in fact, it is prevalent just about anywhere. And certainly, bullying is no longer the domain of boys only. Private or government schools seemingly have an equal chance of finding a bullying pupil in their midst.
But, what appears to be key here is how it is dealt with, how quickly the issue is picked up, how both the victim and perpetrator are handled and what counselling is made available to the school population.
Obviously, wealthier schools are likely to have staff trained and equipped to deal with this negative social behaviour.
But, when the child is a victim of an under-resourced school with little infrastructure, then tragedies like this one become almost inevitable.
We cannot escape the fact that we live in a particularly violent society to which our children are exposed, where the gangsters and criminals in their area are often regarded as heroes and role models.
The bullying can, unfortunately, not be viewed in isolation, but has to be seen in a greater context such as a breakdown of societal values.
Old-fashioned as they might seem, basic values such as respect and manners would be a good starting point for many children, never mind the adults who are supposed to lead the way.