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Pupils in Georgian schools are frequently subjected to both physical and psychological abuse from adults and peers, according to a recent report from Georgia’s Public Defender.
The report, Violence Against Children in General Education Institutions, published on 17 October, said bullying among pupils is widespread, and staff lack training to respond to violence against children.
Children also reportedly spoke of different forms of physical violence at the hands of teachers, including ear and hair pulling, beatings, pinching, and being forced to stand for long periods of time.
The research detailed abusive remarks which pupils claimed teachers had directed at them, including: ‘imbecile’, ‘fool’, ‘downy’, ‘donkeys’, ‘bastards’, ‘you all will rot in jail’, ‘damn you all to hell’, ‘are you not raised in a family?!’ ‘you are raised in a pig farm’, ‘go and tell everything to your imbecile mother’, and many others.
It also claimed that children, when subjected to violence and abuse at school, do not know who to address.
‘Forms of psychological and physical violence are commonplace in schools, but violence among pupils, especially incidents of bullying, are often ignored. The majority of pupils have no hope or experience of receiving assistance or information about how to receive assistance’, the report claimed.
The research also pointed to a shortage in counseling services for children who fall victim to abuse.
The monitoring revealed that although students are aware of their rights and can identify various forms of violence, their knowledge is superficial.
Researchers applied both quantitative and qualitative methods, using questionnaires for school employees and older pupils, conducting 124 in-depth interviews of school administrations, and 83 focus groups of 5th, 6th and 7th year pupils. It encompassed 109 general educational institutions countrywide, including 98 public, five private, and six boarding schools.