In Mexico, Focus Turns to Bullies in Schools After Death of Student
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, right, meets Rebeca Ramirez and Francisco Javier Mendez, the parents of a 12-year-old boy who died of injuries sustained in a beating by classmates in Tamaulipas. (AFP/Getty Images)
In a nation that has drawn international notoriety for drug cartel carnage, public officials are now focusing on another form of violence that plagues Mexican society: school bullying.
In recent weeks, President Enrique Peña Nieto railed against bullying during a visit to the troubled state of Tamaulipas, and Mexican celebrities joined a Twitter campaign, holding signs with the hashtag #ElBullyingNoEsUnJuego, or "Bullying is not a game" (see video below). On TV, disturbing images of children being bullied — one girl being grabbed by the hair, forced to her knees and ordered to beg for mercy — have played in a loop during TV news. And on June 11, Mexico's human rights commission announced that it would work with teachers as part of a national campaign to tackle bullying.
"The government has made a commitment … to make schools free of acoso escolar," Peña Nieto said in his late May appearance in Tamaulipas, using the Spanish term for abuse of students, before adding, "what is known publicly as bullying."
The anti-violence campaign picked up steam when a 12-year-old Tamaulipas boy died in May after being grabbed by a group of young assailants and flung against a wall. Published reports say the boy had complained to his teacher about being bullied but was ignored.
But Roberto Campa, a top official in the federal Ministry of the Interior, said the administration of Peña Nieto has been working on this issue since last year, shortly after he took office, as part of a broader violence-prevention program.
Campa said that the issue had been largely overlooked.
Read the rest at The Los Angeles Times
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