Combatting Bullying in PNG

Earlier this year I attended a BBQ with my husband to watch one of the State of Origin Football matches. My husband, BG and I were the only expats there so we stood out like a sore thumb. Some of the kids were keen to engage me in conversation- probably because I was the ‘white lady’ haha.

Anyhow, a little girl of about 9 years old started to tell me about school and how she was being bullied by a boy in her class. We chatted about how bullying isn’t right but that it seems to be in every school. She went on to tell me that this boy, ‘had an operation when he was a baby and has a cut here…’ (she drew a line across her mid back towards her front which indicated to me it was probably his kidneys) ‘…and he has to go to the toilet a lot because of it…’ (yep! his kidneys!) ‘…we told the teacher he is being mean to us and she said…’

So this is where the punch line comes in but I’m not going to tell you just yet what the teacher said. At this point I began to wonder just how they might tackle bullying in PNG. Back in Australia, everyone has their opinions on how to tackle it and generally speaking, none of the theories seem to be sticking (except for the few triumphs here and there). It seems that with every step forward, there is also a few steps back. So I wondered… could PNG have a great example of how to deal with a bully and put an end to their disruptive behaviour?

The teacher responded with the following (this is word for word on what the girl told me)…

‘…she said, “Well next time he does it, you tell me so that next time he asks to go to the toilet I will tell him he cannot so that he will wet himself and you can laugh at him.’

Hmmm… somehow I don’t think PNG can offer a great solution just yet.

Featured image is thanks to the Holland Elementary School’s article on bullying.

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