Time to end bullying in schools

Most of us would have read about or seen the video of Quaden Bayles crying his heart out after being bullied in school.

The Aboriginal Australian’s mother Yarraka Bayles, late last month, posted a clip of him crying after he was targeted at school for his dwarfism.

The nine-year-old could be heard saying he wanted to commit suicide as he couldn’t take the taunting.

After the video went viral, some claimed Quaden was not nine-years-old, but an actor trying to con people of money.

This came about after some good Samaritans started a go-fund-me page to fly the family to Disneyland.

Firstly, neither Yarraka nor anyone else in the family asked for any money. She filmed the incident to highlight the bullying her son endured.

Secondly, Quaden is nine and not 18, 19 or older as claimed by his detractors.

The family has refused to accept the money collected (A$308,000) and have instead asked it be redirected to not-for-profit organisations.

As a mother of three children, I can understand Yarraka’s anguish. I too would do anything to protect my children.

She has done a courageous thing by “exposing” her son’s feelings to the world.

It shows just how much bullying can affect us all, especially little children.

As an educator, I have always strived to ensure children in my school are well-behaved and accepting to everyone, regardless of race, religion, colour or creed – the underlying message is: We are all human.

If we get a cut, the colour of our blood is the same. So is the hurt we feel.

A 2018 survey by Unicef showed that eight out of 10 children in Malaysia claimed they had encountered bullying.

The nationwide-survey involved over 2,000 children below the age of 18.

That is why last year Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS) organised an anti-bullying campaign.

The idea was to highlight the different types of bullying – verbal, physical and cyber among others – and to highlight how one can be bullying another without realising it.

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The words we speak or the jokes we crack may seem fun but can, in fact, be hurtful to others.

We also spoke about ways to diffuse the situation without being confrontational as this is what some bullies want.

This is indeed a serious issue and we, as parents and educators, must do our part in guiding our children to the right path.

At our school, we recently awarded a scholarship to a five-year-old dwarf.

She is intelligent, adorable and such a joy to be around.

Her presence also teaches our students to accept other children for who they are.

The world is sometimes such a wicked place and will continue to be so if we at the school level don’t make a stand to teach not only the academics but also love, compassion, integrity, filial piety, kindness, sensitivity and honesty.

With these values, we can start making a difference – one step at a time.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.