Harassment and Bullying in School buses

42 % of kids bullied at schools, says Times of India according to a survey on Jul 28, 2017.

Harassment and bullying in school environment is a serious concern faced by teachers, administrators, parents and students alike. We have little knowledge or pay less attention to an equal form bullying –Bullying in school buses vary from physical abuse, inflicting emotional trauma and in extreme cases sexual abuse. The most common reason for this is that school buses are generally where ‘scores are settled’. That is, since a school bus is where children of all age groups are mixed together with no major school authority monitoring them, sometimes what remains unfinished at school, is attempted easily on the bus. With many cases of bullying coming to the fore nowadays, it becomes important to monitor school buses closely.

Bullying in the school bus can be categorized under:

  • Physical Abuse – causing physical hurt including cuts, bruises, pain caused by blunt objects
  • Emotional Trauma – intimidation, shaming, verbal abuse, repeated criticism
  • Sexual Abuse – inappropriate touching, passing lewd comments etc.

Early signs of bullying in school buses for taking immediate action:

  • Fear of going to school by bus.
  • Regularly findings reasons to miss taking the school bus.
  • Arriving home from the bus ride with torn clothes, lost items, scars on the body.
  • Showing signs of anxiety before getting on to the bus ride to school.
  • Making reference to a friend being bullied and adding themselves into the scenario.

Ways of preventing the above in schools buses:

  • Technology has made possible what was not a few years ago and so, cameras and a security system in place with alarms and notifications to the school authorities is the need of the hour.
  • Schools to establish clear anti- bullying policies, which includes behavior on the bus. Post them in school buses and hold regular reviews with children and the bus staff.
  • Create an awareness amongst children against bullying by familiarizing them with the policies in place to enable them to support one another.
  • Educate children on how to escalate a bullying case to the relevant people in school and also at home. Any talk by the children about this at home should be taken seriously by the parents and should be acted upon. The bus driver, helper and the designated person from school should be informed immediately.
  • Increase adult supervision on the bus. Whether a paid professional or an adult volunteer who can supervise and improve student behavior. Parents should be equally involved and should try and take turns to travel by school bus and shoulder responsibility.