The Human Rights and Anti- Discrimination Commission is calling for accountability in schools.
As of this morning, the Commisison has received four complaints from parents and guardians in relation to bullying in schools.
Complaints range from physical and emotional violence perpetrated by fellow students and in one of the cases brought to the Commission’s attention, the victim is a year three student.
Of equal concern is the circulation of a video documenting a child being subjected to gratuitous violence by his peers in school that allegedly happened last year.
Director Ashwin Raj says the constant circulation of this video on social media accompanied by comments that glorify violence and subject the child to ridicule means the child who is already a victim of physical and emotional violence continues to be victimized and re-traumatized.
This clearly meets the definition of ‘harm’ in the Online Safety Act of 2018 and the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission calls on relevant authorities to implore the general public to stop circulating this video because we are dealing with children who are vulnerable and susceptible to violence.
Raj says there is a need to weed out this entrenched culture of violence and bullying which will require a concerted effort between the school system, parents and institutions such as the police and the Human Rights and Ant-Discrimination Commission .
“These acts of violence must be reported to the police at the earliest. They must also be handled sensitively and consistent with human rights principles given that children are both victims as well as in conflict with the law. “