What started from a missing school bag last September has seen Eddy (not his real name) being a victim of bully for more than 6 months since.
To date, Eddy has been called names, sprayed with soya sauce and kicked several times on his thighs and arms.
Eddy reportedly told The Newpaper (TNP) that he was attending mother tongue lessons in another classroom when his bag went missing. He said that his books and other contents in his bag “cost about $150 in all. I looked for it everywhere, but it was nowhere to be found.”
His mother, Madam Ann (not her real name) alerted the teachers when she found out about the missing bag but decided to let the matter rest after school prefects found it at the school’s open air balcony.
Eddy was relieved that none of the bag’s contents were damaged although it was raining the previous night as his bag was closed.
Last March, Eddy was threatened by a primary 6 boy while walking home from school. The boy said that he’d squirt Eddy with “pepper spray” to which Eddy responded by jokingly sticking his tongue out.
The primary 6 boy then took a small bottle and sprayed to Eddy’s face while laughing. It turned out to be soy sauce and Eddy dismissed is as a joke.
However, the issue got serious when Eddy encountered the said boy and another primary 6 kid on March 29. The boy started calling Eddy names and refused to stop despite Eddy’s protests.
“He also threatened to call his friends down to beat me up if I made him angry” Eddy said.
Eddy tried to ignore him by going to a nearby 7-Eleven store. He noticed the two boys were following him and tried to prevent them from entering the store by holding on to the two doors but failed.
The boys started getting physically abusive and kicked Eddy on his right thigh. The boys then followed Eddy as he walked to the nearby bus stop and continued kicking him. Eddy couldn’t take the abuse and started crying.
When he was already at the bus stop, the boys kicked him hard on his left upper arm. Two schoolmates who were at the bus stop tried to stop the bullying but got punched as well.
Eddy managed to get into a bus a minute later and cried on his way home. His mum took that incident as the final straw and decided to bring the matter up to Eddy’s school teacher.
Madam Ann reported the matter to the police the next day. She said that was worried that Eddy would be assaulted again.
Eddy was given two days’ medical leave by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Eddy’s school principal said to TNP that the school is “aware of the incident and have spoken to the parents and students involved. The school will continue to monitor and follow up with the students involved.”
On Sunday, Madam Ann told TNP: “My son told me that the bully has apologised to him. His teachers have assured me that my son can approach them if he is bullied again, and I’m glad.”
According to the Singapore Children’s Society’s Bully-Free website, one in five primary school pupils has been a victim of bullying.
Dr Carol Balhetchet, senior director of youth services at the Singapore Children’s Society, said parents should remain calm when they find that their children have been bullied.
Mr Ian Poulier, associate consultant at counselling service SEL Network and former school counsellor of 12 years said: “Victims shouldn’t fight back. They may end up badly hurting their bullies, and end up in trouble themselves.” He also mentioned that victims must immediately inform adults they trust, such as their parents and teachers.
Dr Balhetchet added that bullies feel empowered while bullying others and do so to gain attention from their peers.
“There are instances where the child feels bullied at home by siblings or parents,” she said. “What they can’t do at home, they may take it out on their peers.”
Mr Poulier said parents of bullies need to take a step back and reflect on why their children would target others.
He added that “They should talk to their kids to find out why their children act that way. Parents of bullies can also go for counselling to know more about parenting techniques.”
If your kid is being bullied, please contact these available helplines:
Tinkle Friend Helpline: 1800-274-4788 (for primary school pupils only)
(Image credit: TNP)