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by Walid M. Sadi | Dec 25,2011 | 21:22
Many countries have recognised that they have a “bullying” problem at their school and adopted the necessary legislation to combat it.
There is little doubt that we in Jordan have a similar problem, although it may be brushed under the carpet. Denial has got to end because bullying at elementary and secondary levels of education is rampant, yet ignored so far.
Bullying is a threat to the physical and intellectual safety and integrity of students, especially the most vulnerable among them. It takes many forms, including sexual exploitation and abuse of children by children that go either unnoticed or unattended to by teachers and school administrators.
This has got to stop because it does not only cause physical and mental harm to students, it also impedes their learning and ability to reach excellence in education.
The intimidation of students by fellow students can be easily identified once there is in place proper monitoring and law that criminalises this type of violence, coupled with an appropriate mechanism to enforce it.
A special law for this purpose is vital, even though assault and battery in general are covered by the penal code.
The unique nature of this type of violence perpetrated by children against children calls for a special treatment, commensurate with its dimension and peculiar nature.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has been paying more and more attention to this problem in schools and called for effective measures to deal with it. Left unaddressed, it would interfere with many rights children should enjoy.
Jordan can join the countries that have recognised the existence of this crisis and moved to act on it. Since Jordan is in the midst of adopting a special legislation on the rights of the child, it would be the right thing to include bullying in schools in the long list of issues related to this matter.
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