03-13-2015, 07:27 PM
Cyberbullying, generally meaning the act of harassing someone online by sending or posting rude messages or photos is rampant in schools with students resorting to WhatsApp groups to spread rumours or even targeting victim's eating habits and physical appearance. In extreme cases, morphed photos have been uploaded on Facebook through fake accounts just long enough to get the school talking about it. Now CBSE has also recognized the menace and shot off a letter to schools on Monday suggesting various steps to deal with cyberbullying.
A senior principal said, "It is unfortunate but it is the truth. Victims keep quiet because they do not want to be ridiculed further and simply pray that the storm will blow over as the bully finds a new target. Technology has become a dangerous tool in the hands of this generation who just don't realize how damaging their actions are for others." The board, usually known to deal with soft hands, said schools may withhold or even cancel results of guilty students as punitive action. While the CBSE has mentioned minor punishments as well, such as oral and written warning, the overall intent and tone of the letter leaves no doubt that it means business.
The board's academic director Sadhana Parashar told Times of India, "The responsibility of preventing any undesirable aspect of bullying and ragging rests jointly and also individually on all stakeholders, which includes the head of the institution, teacher, non-teaching staff, students, parents and local community. A systematic response to bullying problem is needed within the schools... bullying has severe detrimental effects on those who are bullied. The effects can be immediate. They can also be long-term and can cause lifelong damage."
Parashar also pointed out the unfortunate reality in almost all schools where cases of bullying are hushed up and dealt with "internally". The latter means calling parents of both students concerned and issuance of a verbal warning. Parashar wrote, "It (bullying) is often not recognized as a major problem and assumed negligible and therefore not much attention is paid to its occurrence."