My Primary 4 brother came home crying after being bullied on the school bus. I was heartbroken and livid when he told me that the bullies made his life miserable and he did not want to attend school any more.
The after-effects of being bullied last a very, very long time and can have a permanent impact on how a child views his world.
Many of my friends were bullied before, and their experiences greatly shaped fears and insecurities in their lives.
Schools are where most of the bullying occurs. While mandatory character and citizenship lessons and support systems in school are in place, what good would these do for a child who will remain afraid of being around his peers?
Disciplinary actions may teach the bullies that their actions have consequences , but what if bullied children do not dare tell a figure of authority? Why must bullying occur before the bully learns his lesson?
I believe that preventive measures should be taken by every single individual in a child's life.
The environment can influence a child's behaviour and values - watching siblings scream nasty names at one another or witnessing a parent's rude treatment of a waiter will shape how he views relationships and the way he speaks.
We need to set the best examples for the young and impressionable, and treat every single person with kindness and respect.
Children deserve a positive and nurturing environment to learn and grow, without having to fear a simple bus journey to school or the person sitting next to them in the classroom.
Let us be better people for the children around us.