8 November 2018

Cameroon: Harassment in School - Eliminating the Growing Evil

As the world celebrate the World Day of Bullying Prevention, Cameroon Tribune zooms in on the phenomenon which is becoming rampant in schools

Some years ago, a secondary school student stabbed a classmate to death in Yaounde. After several weeks of painfully succumbing to sodomy, the victim decided to react by taking a knife to school to confront his classmate. Although the victim felt he was addressing a situation which he did not want, he was later imprisoned for murder.

Some months back, a student at a Catholic Secondary School in Yaounde was found with acid on his way to school. When interrogated by a taxi driver, the student replied: "I am taking this acid to school to pour on the bodies of some of my classmates who always beat me and make life uncomfortable for me. Such, is an iceberg of the harassment cases happening in some schools in the country, which go beyond sexual harassment as many had thought.

Before now, this was not an issue in the Cameroonian society. However, bullying is becoming a growing problem in schools in the country especially in the past years. It is not just an issue limited to affair between a male teacher and a female student. It is far beyond that and even involves pupils; student versus student, irrespective of the sex. Many children even at the nursery and primary levels of education have at one point in time refused to go to school because of a classmate who either beats them up or forcefully eat their snacks.

Recently, a group of pupils in a nursery school in Yaounde told their parents about a classmate who usually seizes their pencils and other school items in school. Reports also indicate that kids who are different from the majority gender norm suffer most from violence and harassment in schools. Such is the case with disabled and albino students.

Although there are many examples of schools which have over the past few years, consistently been working to create conducive and safe learning environment, research conducted in some schools around still reveals generally high levels of abuse, harassment and verbal or physical violence experienced by young people. Most at times it has nothing to do with a male teacher harassing a female student although one in three 16 18 years girls of age have experienced unwanted sexual advances at school from classmates and teachers alike.

While some consider hazing and the abuse that some children take in school to be a typical part of the adolescent experience, rising suicide rates and violence in school has led officials to start taking a hard, zerotolerance stance on bullying. If you were pricked in school as a kid, or maybe it continued into your college and adult years, World Day Of Bullying Prevention is bringing attention to your plight, and the plight of others who experienced this incredibly difficult, and dangerous part of many children's live.

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