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"So why have you been sent here?" I ask the angry looking teenager who has just stormed into my room. "It's Jade! She told the teacher I was bullying her, I wasn't I just told her what I thought and...
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We have, for long, attributed issues like bullying to the West, when in fact, it has always been very real here as well. We refer to it as "toughening", a "learning experience", an outcome of raging hormones. We also tend to reinforce it by ignoring it, or worse, lashing out at the child enduring it - "Be tough, it's all part of growing up."
My daughter Pihu's first day at a nearby day care centre was a disaster. The teacher could not handle her crying, my number was not reachable and by the time I arrived, the clueless teacher shouted at her. My girl fell into my arms, crying. "I want to go home," she said between sobs. This incident took me back to the time when I was a timid 8-year-old girl who'd get bullied almost every day and was once mercilessly battered by a teacher in primary school.