Friendship and compassion required

Avatar JulieVOY
Member since September 30, 2013
  • 116 Posts

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1367/Pirozz

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-1367/Pirozz

Hey VOY! Last Friday I posted about Education for Equity, seen here: I'd like to share with you, "Friendship and compassion required," which was read at the event last week.

Written by: Nikola Maljkovic from Serbia

With the sun shining and a cool breeze at her back, Sofia walks to school to begin the new school year. At 7, she can barely contain her excitement. She can’t wait to meet her teacher and find out if any of her new classmates love animals, the color yellow and playing with their little sister as much as she does. Sofia is sweet, smart and eager to please, and she begins to work hard to do well in school.

But gradually, it starts: A pinch under the table when she gives the right answer to a question that her teacher has asked the entire class. Whispers in her ear, calling her names. Her books knocked to the floor. Laughing at her instead of playing with her. All always just far enough away for the teacher not to see or hear.

Within weeks, Sofia’s excitement has turned to dread. She feels alone and scared. Confused and unprepared for these feelings, she doesn’t talk to her teacher or her parents. But she cries before school in the morning, and she almost never raises her hand in class anymore. Her stomach aches as she walks to school.

What do you think happens to Sofia?

Is she happy in the end?

What can we do? What should we do?

Bullying in school is a worldwide problem, including in Serbia, and it has gone on for far too long. It must be stopped – through awareness-raising and education. Education systems must focus on helping children and youth learn not only facts and figures, but how to behave from a very early age. They must teach and encourage friendship and compassion. They must provide students, teachers, parents and others with information and skills to prevent, identify and respond to bullying.

All children deserve to be happy and to attend school without fear of bullying.

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