Children do not consider slaps, hair and ear pulling and even beatings from teachers as abuse
According to research conducted in 109 schools across Georgia, incidents of abuse against children and students committed by teachers are rather common, as is bullying from peers.
The survey was conducted on behalf of the ombudsman with the support of the UN children’s fund, UNICEF. The office of the ombudsman is looking into 24 cases in particular which were discovered during the survey.
According to the results, abuse against school children is expressed by screaming humiliating remarks that affect their dignity and honor.
The Chief of Communication of UNICEF Georgia, Maia Kurtsikidze, is inclined to believe that schools don’t have a unified policy when it comes to issues of violence, and workers of the schools are not informed about the existence of government mechanisms to defend and protect students from violent actions.
The students themselves do not know about their rights and do not know that a crime is being committed against them. They think that they deserve it when a teacher grabs them by the ear or by the hair, or even when they beat them.
During the monitoring, the children remember several remarks made by their teachers.
“Ears like that of an elephant”; “looks like a flattened frog”; “My teacher told me several times that I am small in comparison to my other classmates and every time the whole class laughed”; “Knowing that a student is badly prepared for a lesson, the teacher tells the whole class, ‘kids, now he’s going to read the assignment better than everyone!’ “
Moreover, the majority of school students do not understand whom they should speak to if they feel they have been a victim of abuse.
According to recommendations made by UNICEF, in order to create a safe environment for children at school one has to widen preventative measures against abuse as punitive mechanisms are less effective. Moreover, schools need to make sure the teachers themselves raise their self-discipline and that they understand that they are not allowed to abuse the children. Professionals that work with children must report incidents of abuse in a timely fashion and react to them.
It is also important that the directors, teachers and other school employees be well-informed and that they should undergo regular training in issues concerning the defence and protection of children. But students must also know their rights and responsibilities as well. The main thing is for the school program to teach children tolerance and equality, cooperation and respect for dissenting principles.