A 27-second video of a Class X student being slapped by another for a “Snapchat story”, while three others recorded the incident, surfaced on social media on Thursday afternoon. While the students’ parents could not be reached for a comment, school authorities maintained that the incident pertained to a “slap bet” and was not a case of bullying.
The incident allegedly took place at Pathways School in Noida around 2 pm on September 4, and the video seems to have been recorded in the washroom. It shows a student taking aim at another student’s cheek, while the person recording the video asks him to count till three before hitting, stating that “the Snapchat story might stop in the middle”.
Three students stand in the background — one of them recording the incident on his mobile while others watch and smile as the slap lands on the face. The victim has his hands folded and signals them to give him a moment before he is hit. He covers his face with his hand after he is slapped. The person recording the video laughs and asks if the student who was slapped is fine.
The video was allegedly sent to the student’s mother by another student, following which the parents approached the school. In their complaint, the parents maintained that their son looked helpless as the students surrounded him. They alleged that the incident caused him mental, physical and emotional trauma. The complaint also alleged that the school authorities did not provide the student with emergency medical aid or inform them about the incident.
In an official statement, the school director, Shalini Advani said, “This is a rather unfortunate incident. However, this is not a bullying incident. It is the outcome of a consensual peer ‘slap bet’ episode that a few Pathways School Noida students had between themselves. Pathways School Noida has been swift in responding to the situation and has taken appropriate action with involvement of parents of the students involved.”
Noida Police, on the other hand, maintained that no complaint from the boy or his parents had reached them till now. In light of the incident, a section of school principals called for increased accountability and responsibility of parents for preventing such incidents.
“Mobile phones are a menace. They have become an instrument for bullying and recording unsavoury material. These phones are bought by the parents for their children and are registered in a parent’s name. When something goes wrong and these videos become viral, why should the child be the only person to be blamed? The accountability and responsibility also lies with parents who provide them such devices,” said Ameeta Wattal, Principal, Springdales School (Pusa Road).
Maintaining that schools confiscate mobile phones and send regular circulars to parents, Wattal added, “We confiscate mobile phones from students but parents come to us and ask us to return them. It seems that mobile phones have become a lifeline. Phones should be completely divorced from the school space. Parents and schools have to work on this issue together.”