The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre expresses its condolences to the family of Lautoka student Navneeta Devi, who reportedly committed suicide on March 25 after she was allegedly shamed at school by a school teacher, who read out messages from her mobile phone to teachers and other students (Fiji Sun Wednesday 1 April 2015).
“Navneeta’s death is tragic and if the circumstances as reported are true, it is even more tragic” said Shamima Ali, the Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre. “Children and young people are very sensitive to actual and perceived criticism, humiliation and “shaming”. What may seem trivial or “fun” to an adult can be felt very deeply by a child and this can lead to tragic consequences.”
“We encourage adults, and especially adults who work with children, to be much more sensitive to and considerate of young people” Ali added “Bullying and embarrassing children is an unfortunate tradition that still continues in our schools. We often get reports from children that they are subjected to various forms of bullying, including shaming, by adults in authority. While many teachers have shown improvement in the way in which they treat children over recent years, unfortunately, some teachers still continue old practices which cause harm to children.”
“The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre calls on schools to recognise that times have changed and that technology plays a huge part in young people’s lives. “That this young women should, as alleged, have been moved to take her own life over bringing a mobile phone to a school event is simply unacceptable. Schools must find ways to deal with students without resorting to the reported shaming and bullying.”
“We also encourage children and young people to ask for help if they feel that things are getting too much for them, or if they cant cope. Our counsellors are available 24 hours a day by phone and all our counselling is confidential. If you don’t have sufficient phone credit, text us on our mobile lines, or email us, and a counsellor will call you back.”
FIJI WOMEN’S CRISIS CENTRE