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Lawyer: Use The Law To Curb School Bullying

An apparent spike in violence in Chinese schools has led some to call for legislation to criminalize bullying.

By Yi Ziyi Updated May.13

Legal intervention should be an option when dealing with an apparent epidemic of school bullying throughout China, Capital Equity Legal Group lawyer Deng Xueping wrote in a recent article for The Paper. China’s education authority has launched a campaign to crack down on school bullying after a number of shockingly violent attacks on school campuses stoked public anger.
According to an announcement issued on May 9 by the education supervision committee under the State Council, the campaign requires elementary and high schools nationwide to employ preventive measures, improve the handling of reported incidents, and establish emergency response plans.

According to incomplete data from several provinces, there were at least 43 "serious" incidents of bullying and violence on school campuses in China in 2014 and 2015, some involving appalling levels of brutality. 

Unlike Japan and the US, there are few provisions in Chinese law applicable to violence between minors. Under the country's current Child Protection Law, children under 16 can only be prosecuted for the most extreme criminal acts, such as murder. Given that many school bullying cases have been revealed to have involved long-term abuse that was subsequently covered up by faculty, as Deng claimed in his article, an effective and enduring legal mechanism would provide the only guarantee preventing the recent campaign from becoming a flash in the pan.   

One major and widespread problem, as Deng has pointed out, lies in the reluctance of school administrations to submit to legal oversight. Even in extreme cases, schools rarely call for police help if cases can be dealt with behind closed doors. Administrators fear for the reputations of their institutions and even their own jobs if they report abuse, bringing a culture of violence, lawlessness and silence to some campuses.

In his article, Deng called for the establishment of a strict accountability system to compel schools to take bullying seriously.    

Source: The Paper