The month of October marks the World Bullying Prevention month in various Countries all over the world.
In the year 2006, PACERS National Bullying prevention center, made this month a National bullying prevention month in other to create awareness of its prevalence.
Since then many organizations and schools have joined in with this vision.
I think the definition and meaning of the word “bullying” is ambiguous and, therefore, directly relates to the context in which this experience took place.
There is however a simple and an overarching definition which I will be using in this blog. Bullying is an act of putting down another, physically, verbally and even emotionally, using varying vices. On the surface it might look harmless and might even be accepted within the culture of an organization, but, the effect it can have on the victim cannot be quantified.
Bullying can occur within various contexts. We wrongfully assume that the word and the act is synonymous with the school setting. Some workers are bullied by their bosses; women, by their husbands and men can be bullied by wives (maybe not physically but emotionally), even peers can bully one another.
On the surface it might even look harmless and might be accepted within the culture of an organization, but the short- and long-term effect on some victims cannot be quantified. At schools, the very glaring negative impact of bullying is probably due to the fact that the students are still at the developmental stage. I have no data to back up this claim, so it is an assumption.
THE SCHOOL-LIFE OF KAYODE ANIFOWOSE.
Kayode was a young, promising and very bright student. His grades were excellent, right from primary one and he was able to maintain the first position up until his 6 year. “number 2 is not an option” was the slogan that he shared with his dad, every time his report card was opened. You should have been there at his graduation. Kayode basically “carried the school”! he went home with 24 prizes and 6 medals. Who won’t be proud of such fit? Kayode’s dad was elated, and his mum was the envy of all parents that day.
His father wanted more, he wanted his son, who already was so intelligent to develop some “discipline” and a sense of independence in life. He wanted him to attend the boarding school. He had hoped that this will give him an edge, as it should, among his peers.
In September, Kayode’s father took him to his new school. He was excited at the prospects of graduating to the university from there. His father took him to his hostel and the “boarding master” introduced him to his “School father”. He explained to him “your school father will take care of you and make sure that you settle in nicely “. There was a dark look in the eyes of this senior that scared him, but he shrugged it off, simply assuming that he was just being superstitious.
Immediately his dad left, Kayode realized he was in trouble with this guy. He brought out the dirtiest clothes that he had ever seen and told Kayode to wash them. Unfortunately for him, Tunde was also a bed wetter, so Kayode had to wash daily at 4:00a.m. A week into his stay, he also realized that all his provision was not his to take!
He had to ask permission for anything and had to give up whatever school father, “Tunde the Bull-Man” wanted. Often times, Kayode slept on the floor under his school father’s bed and was woken up at about 2:00am by drips of urine! To make matters worse, Tunde had threatened to kill his mother, if he ever mentioned anything to his parents. The poor boy believed it!
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At the end of first term, Kayode went home with the worst report card ever. What do you expect? he barely had time for himself. He had become a slave and did not know how to escape. His mother called him to her room to ask what the problem was. Kayode just cried and cried and couldn’t say. He lied to his parents that he was playful and will do better the next time.
Kayode tried in the second term to bring up his grades. By this time, he had adjusted to his routine, the demands of the school and his school father! His grades went up and he was convinced that he was going through all this to keep his mother alive, so he went along with it.
Not minding the fact that this experience had turned him into a quiet, unconfident, moody and very angry young chap. Kayode became fearful, fretful, unfriendly and lonely. He hated school and could not tell anyone.
In his third year, Kunle was in final year, so he was really looking forward to seeing the back of this wicked “son of Satan”.
Finally, Kunle graduated, and Kayode was free…or was he?
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Bo Adesoye is a Pharmacist turned Children’s Counselor and Educationist.