Bullying and Discrimination
People with disabilities have higher risk of being bullied, harassed and discriminated at, and a few may also bully others. (Learn about Bullying and Discrimination by clicking on links). Verbal abuse, name-calling, slurs, graphic or written comments, threats and any things that is physically threatening, harmful and humiliating are all considered as harassment.
The mere fact that a person uses a wheelchair, or has a learning disability, or any other disability, can make others pick on them to bully. They can make fun of them, call them names and make them feel miserable, just for the fun of those who perpetrate that. But for the victims, it is very serious and many people have committed suicide as a result.
Children who stutter may be more likely to be bullied. In one study, 83 percent of adults who stammered as children said that they were teased or bullied; 71 percent of those who had been bullied said it happened at least once a week (Hugh-Jones & Smith, 1999).
Bullying has real consequences on the victims. Depression, anxiety, health complaints, decreased academic achievement and so on are all known effects of bullying.
Do you have a family member of friend with a disability? If so, you will probably have a better appreciation of some of the things you can do to love them and keep them safe and happy. People with disability find it a little harder to make friends and keep them. Think about making friends with someone with a disability in school today. Think of how you can make a positive impact on their lives. Think of making someone happy and loved.
Many children have no idea what it is to have a disability. It is the parent’s responsibility to educate their children on how to relate with their peers with disability. Keep an eye on their social media pages, as it has become a place where people can post very hurtful comments about others.
If you child has a disability, try to let them know that it is not their fault that they are bullied. Help and encourage them to move on, even though it may be a very difficult experience.
School staff and other school caring adults have a role to play in protecting children with disabilities from being bullied and abused. They have an obligation to watch out for them. Swift and appropriate action needs to be taken as soon as there is an incident of bullying to stop it and prevent it from reoccurring.