Members of the Anti-Bullying Alliance have criticized the Ministry of Education for allowing what they called a worsening bullying situation in the nation’s schools.
During a protest on Saturday, the groups demanded that the ministry hold a national anti-bullying seminar within one month to address the matter.
Referring to an incident in March in which a female student was beaten up by a group of senior-high students in Hsinchu City, head of the Anti-Bullying Alliance Lee Wan-chuan (李萬全) said the incident shocked the public, prompting several netizens to call on people to take to the streets to demonstrate the public’s desire for schoolyards free of bullying.
However, more than two months later, cases of bullying continue to be reported, he said.
Lee said ministry officials could not continue to avoid the issue and asked that the ministry enforce anti-bullying regulations across the board and hold a seminar on the subject.
Protesters asked for the number of counselors in schools to be raised to sufficient numbers within the next three months and that school supervision systems on the way to and from school be reinforced and made more transparent.
Among the protesters was an 84-year-old grandfather.
He said he was unhappy about the verbal abuse that his grandson, who attends an elementary school in Taipei, had been subjected to.
His grandson speaks Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese) at school, but was told by his classmates to stop, the man said.
Another protester, a parent from Hsinchu surnamed Chen (陳), said his child had been bullied by an older boy for up to six years, suffering scratches to the face, back wounds, being chased and being hit.
At one point his son even suffered a minor concussion, Chen said.
Chen said the school had not reported the incidents as per regulations because the other boy’s parents were on the parents’ council. Even after they reported the bullying to the police, nothing was done for eight months and the case did not make it to court, he said.
“It makes one feels hopeless,” Chen added.
The protesters ended their march in front of the ministry building and handed the petition to Hsu Wen-chuan (許文娟), an official at the ministry’s Department of Military Training Education.
Hsu said the ministry had already held several national seminars on the subject and encouraged students to report bullying to parents or teachers if they witnessed it or were victims.
Students can also call the ministry’s 24-hour hotline on 0800-200-885 to file a complaint, Hsu said.
Translated by Jake Chung, Staff Writer