Bullying in schools is a problem in many countries around the world and is slowly becoming a more and more serious problem in Thailand.
Bullying seems to be the most widespread form of peer-to-peer violence. Bullying covers any form of physical, verbal or emotional attack such as hitting, pushing, pulling hair, teasing, calling names, extortion, etc. Usually, if violence takes place within the school compound, it remains there.
Witnesses, victims and perpetrators either accept it as a normal way of life or are silenced by fear and shame. Many factors have to be taken into account in the case of bullying. Most bullied children are absolutely terrified of the bullies. Bullies usually come in a group, and if so, intervention has to address all members of the group. The bullied child is usually ashamed to acknowledge the fact to their parents for fear of shame of being “not up to defending themselves”.
Bullying usually requires the cooperation of parents, teachers, school staff and other students. Victims of prolonged bullying usually suffer from low self-esteem, social anxiety and other consequences; therefore, it is advisable for child in these circumstances to undergo a psychological evaluation to ensure that no long term damage has been done.
Teachers need to stop bullying themselves, such as the tradition of using “caning” as punishment. Teachers need to help parents learn the bullying signs, so the parents of at-risk children know how to handle bullying and how to protect their children, especially from cyberbullying.
To raise greater awareness and to develop a sustainable solution to this vital social problem, Thoresen Thai Agencies Public Company Limited (TTA) joined with the Raks Thai Foundation to launch the “Doing Good, Stop Bullying” project in primary schools. This project aims to reduce bullying behavior among students and promotes greater awareness amongst teachers and the community of bullying.
Bullying is usually defined as being an aggressive, intentional act or behavior that is carried out by a group or an individual, repeatedly and overtime, against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself. The bullying is mostly in the form of verbal attacks and insults about race or complexion. Many studies have reported that students start to bully at a young age. For this reason, the Doing Good, Stop Bullying project targets students in primary schools.
Bullying is often followed by short-term and long-term undesirable psychosocial consequences. In the short term, affected students are often fearful, anxious and unable to concentrate in class, leading to lower grades. Long-term effects include low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and depression.
Adapting the successful YouthMax curriculum of leadership training expert John Maxwell to local conditions, a series of workshop have been conducted for teachers and students in participating schools, with the goal of promoting empathy, empowering students to be “a HERO” by raising one’s self-esteem, and respect for peers and others in society.
The concept of “Prevent before Correction” defines the project’s unique approach as this project helps students at early age to stop their bullying behavior before growing up to be bullies as adults.
The measures included understanding of impact of bullying, announcing a school policy prohibiting students from bullying one another, and monitoring and reporting the incident to teachers. A number of children who had been bullies acknowledged their bad behavior and have now stopped bullying others. Children who had previously been victims have learnt to avoid being alone in risky situations and how to be more assertive when protecting themselves. A the society level, the Facebook StopBullyingTH page and PR program generated greater awareness amongst teachers, parents and students, the media and related government agencies. Finally, at the national level, the Prime Minister of Thailand had already received a briefing about the project. Some discussions on this issue were held with the Office of the Basic Education Commission to integrate the Stop Bullying manual into their education program.
The widespread nature of bullying requires a consistent, sustainable response. The company is now planning to expand the project to schools nationwide as well as addressing the issue of cyber-bullying.
TTA will seek to continue to raise awareness of bullying and best practices in prevention throughout the community by expanding the project beyond school networks into social media channels. The Project will encourage every school to adopt ‘no bullying” policy, and press for prevention of bullying to become a national issue in order to receive more attention from related government agencies and the private sector with a view to enacting supporting legislation such as an Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights.
As a leading Asia investment company, TTA understands the critical importance of human resources for enterprises and for the benefits of the country. The “Doing Good, Stop Bullying” project will not only help reduce social problem but also help prepare children become high-quality and mindful citizens of the future.