In a bid to curb school violence, the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday announced anti-bullying guidelines, specifying schools’ responsibilities in protecting students from bullying and dealing with reports of school violence or bullying.
In the past, there were no guidelines on how to eradicate bullying in schools, the ministry said. However, schools now have instructions on how to deter bullying, with measures ranging from prevention and counseling to the handling of violence on campus.
The guidelines state that in addition to direct violence, indirect aggression, such as slandering, ridiculing, teasing and social exclusion, could also constitute bullying.
Bullying is thereby defined as any act that makes the learning environment unfriendly to the victim and causes physical, psychological or financial damage to the recipient. Aggressive behavior can take on a physical, verbal or written form, as well as be manifested in pictures and photographs or on the Internet.
According to the guidelines, schools are required to set up anti-bullying teams whose members should include teachers, school administrators and counselors, as well as parents and educational experts. The team must hold meetings and start investigations within three days after a case of violence on campus is reported and reach a conclusion in two months.
As a preventative measure, schools and educational authorities are also responsible for creating programs to educate students on the problem of bullying and providing faculty with the knowledge needed to tackle the issue, the ministry said.
However, the rules are by no means the only methods to combat bullying, the ministry said, adding that families and society should also play their part.
In late 2010, Taoyuan County’s Bade Junior High School caused public outrage when a petition from more than 60 teachers at the school accused then-school principal Wu Chia-ku (於家穀) of turning a blind eye to the rampant bullying and abuse at the institution.
The petitioners said that students had even threatened teachers with guns. Wu was subsequently fired and the incident prompted the ministry to launch an anti-bullying campaign aimed at creating a friendlier learning environment.
Additional reporting by Staff writer