A prominent private school in Karachi is allegedly protecting and, in turn, aiding bullying by a Grade 11 English teacher despite complaints by students and a student’s parents. The teacher went so far as to bully a student, Amal*  in front of the school principal but the principal remained silent. 

“This is why no one likes you or wants to talk to you.”

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“You aren’t allowed to cry and play victim.”

“You’re pathetic.”

The series of bullying events took place at different occasions and almost always in front of eyewitnesses, which included other students and the principal. 

Amal states that during a school trip this year to Turkey, the teacher verbally attacked Amal on the bus. Another student was trying to find her missing phone and had forgotten she had given her phone to Amal. When the phone was returned to the owner, the teacher turned to Amal and said, “This is why no one likes you or wants to talk to you. You aren’t allowed to cry and play victim like you always do because this is all your fault. You better not start crying.” The comments were made in front of the student’s classmates and the principal of the school was also present in the bus. The principal did nothing.  

This was not the first time that Amal had been bullied by the same teacher. 

The teacher targeted Amal by telling Amal’s friends to ‘stay away from her’ and not interact with her. If students did not comply with the teacher’s demand, she approached them and said: “What did I tell you about staying away from her [Amal]?” She also did this while Amal was standing with her friends.

Conversation between Amal and her classmate who passed away, who was told to stay away from her by the teacher involved. She scolded him in the lobby for speaking to Amal.

Bullying by teachers is a common occurrence in Pakistan and in the world. According to recent studies, about 15 per cent of children are likely to be targeted by teachers, and 93 per cent of high school and college students identified at least one teacher as a bully in their school. The reason why the teacher tends to get away with it is because most schools are not willing to take action — and lose — teachers and rather look the other way. 

Three months later after the school trip, Amal’s friend and classmate died in an accident. in a It was a difficult time for the school and the student’s friends and classmates. Shockingly, the teacher’s bullying did not stop then either. The teacher reportedly told other students that Amal was an ‘attention seeker’ by crying at the classmate’s funeral. Many students were shocked by how the teacher was speaking about the death of her student, and relating it to another student. 

Studies show that teachers who bully students usually were bullied when they were in school. But the problem with school teachers in Pakistan runs deeper. 

Our teachers, even those who work at private schools, are not trained or equipped to teach. “They do not have degrees in education or know how to deal with students and this is a serious problem. You’re dealing with the lives of students, their childhood, the way they will grow and treat others. It’s a serious role, the role of a teacher and Pakistani schools don’t take it seriously,”  an educationist told The Current.

*The student’s name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.