Whenever his classmates queued up according to height, Miggy would always be at the start of the line. The scrawny, diminutive, but energetic first-grader became an easy target for the class bully Jeric. “He was always picking on Miggy who was very frail-looking,” relates mom Bettina de la Rama. “Jeric even slashed my son’s sleeve with a piece of broken glass. Once, he tried to pull out the chair my son was standing on while Miggy was erasing the blackboard.”
To fight back, Miggy put on a brave face at school and stood up to Jeric. “Miggy would make sumbong at home,” says Bettina. He was, after all, a talkative kid, so he told his mom everything.
Bettina intervened by trying to set up a meeting with Jeric’s parents. “I talked to the level coordinator, who called the boy’s parents to a meeting, but they avoided me,” she says. The meeting never took place. “I finally decided not to enroll my son in that school for the next school year,” Bettina concludes.
Violence in school Like Miggy, four in 10 children in grades 1 to 3 say they have experienced violence in school, reveals a study entitled Towards a Child-friendly Education Environment: A Baseline Study on Violence against Children in Public Schools. The United Nations Children’s Fund, the Council for the Welfare of Children, and Plan International conducted this study among 6,931 students nationwide.
The study also reports that boys are more prone to physical violence than girls, although bullying is not limited to just physical acts. The study further reveals that verbal abuse is the most common form of violence in school. Moreover, acts of violence experienced by schoolchildren are committed more by their peers than by adults. That kid sitting right next to your child in class just might be a bully.