|Students of Thái Lão High School participate in an extracurricular activity in Hưng Nguyên District in the central province of Nghệ An.—VNA/VNS Photo Bích Huệ
“Mummy, I’m afraid to go to school.”
These are the heart-breaking words released after a female student at Vinh University's High School for the Gifted in the central province of Nghệ An killed herself, allegedly due to school violence, on April 15.
Previously, there were many times she told her mother that she did not want to go to class because she was afraid and her classmates beat her.
Her mother then came to see the principal of the school and the head teacher of the class to ask for her daughter to move to another class, but she failed.
The student's death once again raised the alarm the school violence in the country.
According to the latest data from the Ministry of Education and Training, there are nearly 1,600 cases of students fighting inside and outside the school each year. One out of 11,000 students is forced to drop out because of fighting each year.
In the meantime, data from the Ministry of Public Security showed that more than 1,000 teenagers commit crimes per month. More than 75 per cent of violent cases are related to students.
Lê Thị Thanh Thủy, deputy head of the Faculty of Social Work under the Việt Nam Youth Academy, talked to the Government News at baochinhphu.vn that the phenomenon of school violence is not new. Recently, it has occurred continuously both inside and outside of school.
She said that school violence consists of physical, emotional, and technological violence.
The problem of school violence often occurs at the ages of middle and high school students because this is the crisis period of puberty, she said.
“Their psychology is not stable, their temperament changes erratically, many children want to express themselves, assert themselves but do so negatively,” she said.
“It is a psychological cause leading to an increase in school violence,” she added.
The causes of school violence are increasingly diverse and occur very easily. For example, she said conflicts could occur while students are playing together, by comments on social networks, or by slandering each other on forums.
She also said that victims of school violence are very likely to fall into depression and have a very low assessment of their worth.
She said it leads them to have negative behaviours, even harming themselves.
Nguyễn Tùng Lâm, vice president of Việt Nam Psycho–Pedagogical Association, said in addition to the above reasons, there is also a family factor.
He said that improper educational methods and abuse of parental rights to pressure and impose on their children from learning to behaviour are also believed to be the reasons.
From that pressure, he said their children would behave with violence, disrespect, lack of love and compassion, and even insensitivity.
Besides, sanctions for these acts of school violence currently are not serious enough to deter, he said.
“The behaviours of school violence must be handled by law,” he said.
Thủy said schools should take action to detect which groups of students are showing signs of violence to intervene promptly.
The schools are advised to promote psychological counselling activities in schools, including the participation of the youth unions, and develop codes of conduct in schools, she said.
She said it needs to survey every three to six months about the risks of school violence for early intervention.
She said that parents have to pay more attention to their children, detecting changes in them to protect them from school violence.
She said it is necessary to equip their children with self-protection skills and always let them understand that no one has the right to infringe on their bodies.
For example, when children begin to recognise signs of violence, they need to tell parents, grandparents or someone they trust to help them to deal with the problem, she said.
“The deep foundation of school violence prevention is that children must be taught about humility and respect for others. This is the way to prevent violence," she said.
She said it should encourage children to do more exercises and participate in social activities.
Lâm suggested that schools need to focus on spiritual care for students and strengthen psychological education programmes or activities to equip soft skills for the students so that they can learn how to deal with problems and learn the value of compassion.
Đinh Công Sỹ, deputy chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Culture and Education, said it is required to improve the legal system to prevent school violence.
Specifically, it has to improve the regulations on juvenile courts, regulations on legal proceedings against students who cause violent acts; establish a process to identify, evaluate, share information and personalise the responsibilities of related parties in receiving and handling school violence cases, he said.
The school curriculum is asked to provide students with more life skills, especially skills in emotional management, skills to handle conflicts and skills on social media, he said.
At the same time, it should create many playgrounds, healthy, meaningful and age-appropriate activities for students to help them be aware of the lessons of kindness, tolerance, respect and responsibility with people around them, he said.
Tạ Thị Thúy, principal of Văn Khê Secondary School in Hà Đông District, said that it should integrate psychology education and school violence prevention into the school curriculum because these are very important topics to help in forming and developing student personality so that students have the right perception and from there they will have the right behaviours. — VNS