Four months after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) flagged the problem of bullying on campus as “critical”, it has issued circulars to all affiliated schools asking them to constitute anti-bullying committees.
In a report submitted to the Human Resource Development ministry, the board has recommended imposition of fine, withholding or cancellation of results, suspension from attending classes or from school and expulsion in rarest of rare cases if a student is found guilty of bullying schoolmates.
As per instructions, the anti-bullying committee shall comprise a vice-principal, senior teacher, school doctor, counsellor, Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA) representative, school management representative, legal representative and peer educators.
Professor Devi Sirohi, Chairperson of the Chandigarh Child Rights Commission, said, “We had recently came across an incident outside the government school where some students had hit a schoolmate after a small brawl. This committee will prove helpful for schools to take remedial measures on the spot. We have committees in colleges and universities to ensure a safe environment, but never framed guidelines for schools.”
The responsibilities of the committee would include development and review of school bullying prevention plan, development and implementing bullying prevention programmes, developing training programmes for students and parents, creating awareness through seminars; being vigilant and observing signs of bullying and responding sensitively, and to display the names and contact numbers of the committee on the school premises.
“The responsibility of preventing any undesirable aspect of bullying and ragging rests jointly and also individually on all stake holders, which includes the head of the institution, teachers, non-teaching staff, students, parents and local community. But a systematic response to the problem is needed within the schools,” reads the circular.
The circular also says that the message of ‘Bullying is strictly prohibited inside the school premises and no such act will go unnoticed or punished’ must be clearly mentioned in the school prospectus and other guidelines circulated by schools.
It has been recommended that a graded response system be built up to address bullying cases and a clear process be followed in cases that call for stringent action.
The board has also asked the schools to decide on comprehensive guidelines for the school management, including actions and penalties which may be taken by the school authorities as per the gravity of misconduct.
CBSE has also asked the schools to arrange for full time counsellors. In a circular dated March 9, the board has asked schools to appoint monitors or peer educators who will be trained to tackle situations and report cases of bullying to the committee or school head.