Meena, Anu, and Ajay are in Class 7. Anu is the shortest in their class and Ajay is always making fun of her height. He calls her by nick names which draw attention to her size, and is constantly patting her on the head to show how short she is. Anu, already self conscious, feels hurt but she doesn’t say anything. Meena sometimes laughs with Ajay when he is mocking Anu but she also feels sorry for her.
Have you or someone you know ever been in a similar situation?
     While growing up, it is common for children to tease each other. But when someone purposely makes fun of another or forces them to do things even if they make it clear they don’t want to, it is called bullying.

     We like to have fun together with friends. Sometimes, we may even want to do somethings only because our friends are doing them, even if we know it will get us into trouble or is wrong. For example, Meena knows that Anu feels hurt when Ajay teases her. But she does not want to say anything because she is Ajay’s friend and does not want to upset him. Ajay knows that Anu is upset, but continues to bully her because it gives him a feeling of control. Also he enjoys the attention he is getting from others who laugh instead of telling him to stop.
     But is making someone feel unhappy about themselves a sign of strength? Actually, children who bully others tend to have a low opinion about themselves. This means that there maybe things about themselves that they don’t like or feel ashamed about. hey therefore want to humiliate or put another person down in order to feel better about who they are. They think they will fit in with the crowd if they show up another’s difference, even if it means picking on the other person.

     Maybe Ajay is unhappy with his performance in the exams; maybe Meena doesn’t like her big ears and doesn’t want anyone to notice them. So, they turn their attention to Anu, who is quiet and doesn’t respond. Seeing her reactions to the way they treat her makes them feel better about their own problems.
     Bullying needn’t always be violent like hitting someone or verbally abusing them. If a group of children always refuse to include a particular child in their games, that’s bullying too! Or if you spread stories about someone and it is causing them sadness. It’s quite simple – if, through your actions, you target someone repeatedly to hurt them, it is bullying. Ragging is another word for bullying.

     Everyone usually knows who the bullies in a school, class, or neighbourhood are usually. They either avoid them out of fear or silently support them because they want to be part of the group. But it is important to know that our actions always have consequences.

     Have you heard of the term ‘peer pressure’? Our peers are people like ourselves, usually by age or common interest. Your classmates and friends are your peers. Sometimes, you can find yourself disagreeing with something that everyone is doing but you also end up doing it because you don’t want to be the odd one out. It can be something silly like praising a movie everyone’s excited about but you’re not. Or it can be something more serious, like ragging another child as a group even if you don’t want to. There’s huge pressure to act like everyone else and you give in.
Three students named Meena, Anu, and Ajay were studying in grade 7. Anu was the shortest in the class, and Ajay would always make fun of her. He would often call her by names that would suggest that she is short. He would also pat her on the head to make her feel how she was not tall. Anu felt very bad about these comments, but she had no choice but to listen. Meena would enjoy with Ajay, but she will also sympathize with Anu.

Have you or anyone of your friends been in the same situation anytime?

It is usual for students to tease each other, but when they are making fun of someone purposefully or forcing them to do something which they don't want to do, it is called bullying.
Students often get into making fun or teasing someone though they know that it is wrong, and it might lead to some problem. Students want to enjoy themselves with their friends and do whatever their friends are doing. Here, though Meena knows that Anu does not like the way Ajay teases her, still Meena enjoys with Ajay. Meena does not stop Ajay from doing so, as she feels it might upset him, as Ajay is her friend. Even Ajay knows that he is hurting Anu still he continues doing so as Ajay feels he has control over her by doing so, and also he enjoys the attention of his classmates. His classmates, instead of stopping, they laugh at what Ajay does.

But the students should ask themselves, by making fun of someone or by making them unhappy, whether they can show that they are strong. Students who often do such type of things are low in self-esteem. This means that they are not happy about themselves as they lack something in them, so they make fun of other people. In that way, they feel better. They think that they will be an important part of the class if they find fault with others even if it means that they are picking on the other student.
Maybe Ajay does not study well and is not happy with the way he performs in the exams. Maybe Meena has big ears, and she does not want anyone to notice that in her. So, Anu, who is calm and does not respond much, becomes their target. On seeing Anu's reaction, Meena and Ajay can relate to it, and they find solace in Anu's response.
It is not always necessary that students need to hit or verbally abuse the other student as a part of bullying. If a group of children are always neglecting a student in games, projects, or assignments, that is also called bullying. Sometimes, some students spread stories about a particular student, and that story makes the student sad; even that is called bullying. In simple words, if the student is continuously made fun of, then it is bullying. Even ragging is part of bullying.

The student generally knows the person who bullies. They are either in the school, class, or neighbourhood. Students usually avoid them out of fear or become a part of that bullying group as they enjoy it. But the student should know that they have to bear the outcome of whatever is happening.
Do the students remember the word "Peer pressure"? Peer means the people who are of the same age or having a common interest. In school, your classmates or friends are the students' peers. Never succumb to peer pressure. In some situations, a student doesn't want to be part of something happening, but the student goes with their peers, just because they don't want to be the odd man out. It can be as simple as praising a movie that the student didn't like at all or as serious as ragging a student unnecessarily. The student is always under pressure to go ahead with what the peers do.
Meanings of difficult words:
TeaseMake fun of.
Ragging Abuse of new entrants.
Mocking Making fun of someone or something in a cruel way.
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-1 English Standard-7. This story is by Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse, Chennai. (pp. 75-78). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.