About a week after 14-year-old Raunak Banerjee jumped to death from his flat’s balcony, his shockingly untimely demise and its causes are still being discussed. There is obviously a heated debate in the picture, except it’s all about getting rid of any possible responsibility. In his suicide note, Raunak alleged bullying by his classmates as the reason behind his extreme step.
On the other hand, what the principal of his school, Baldwin Boys’ High School, has to say is that the bullying never happened in class or in the school premises, rather it must have happened in the private van that Raunak and several other boys took to school, as quoted by The Telegraph.
This presents a few questions before us.
- Who will take responsibility?
All the boys possibly involved in the bullying of the deceased teenager must also be kids going to high school. Apart from maybe a week or two of suspension, there will be no corrective action against them. The school administration will never admit to such a thing happening on its premises. Who, then, will own up to the reality of bullying?
- Why are teenagers pushed towards such extremes?
Here, we could talk about kids at both ends of bullying, but more importantly, the kids that tread the path of suicide. In Raunak’s case, he was depressed because no one stood up for him as he was bullied; he became a laughing stock for the rest. He was lonely. Just like so many others who end their lives.
- Why would kids as young as early teens bully anyone?
Worst still, I have seen seven-year-olds bully other seven-year-olds. What causes these entitled young people to forcefully establish their entitlement? It’s probably a crippling need for approval, the need to reinforce in their minds, their socially, economically and sometimes psychologically constructed superiority.
- How are we ever moving out of such environments at school?
Administrations are doing their bit on paper, getting people to sign anti-ragging clauses and stuff. But if students are still jumping off balconies citing bullying by classmates, I’m not sure of how effective is that. However, there are other things to be done. Dyuti Banerjee,
Dyuti Banerjee, sister of Raunak, has started an online petition to spread awareness on bullying. In her petition, she says that in his suicide note, her brother had written that he “couldn’t take it anymore and was terribly bullied by a group of boys in school”.
The petition is titled “Statewide Anti-Bullying Drive to Spread Awareness.” In her petition, Dyuti describes her brother Raunak as “a soft-hearted, good-natured 14-year kid. He jumped off the 10th floor of his apartment after leaving a suicide note in his school bag.”
“I lost a brother because the system doesn’t care to protect schoolchildren from mental, emotional and physical torture. But no more kids should be lost to this social evil,” she said.
The petition has received over 2,496 supporters so far.
We hope this number grows exponentially and that the message reaches everyone out there.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.