Bullying and violence in schools is a universal problem. The TES examines different countries' attempts to bring peace to the classroom.
ALARMED by the rise of gangsters in schools, the education ministry has ordered schools to compile profiles of pupils involved and to detail the extent of their activities. There are also proposals to position plain-clothed policemen at schools where gangs are a problem.
Immediate counselling of students involved and referral to the police are also advocated. At the same time, the ministry is encouraging pupils to become involved in sports clubs and organisations, such as the Scouts and Guides, that offer benign alternative leisure activities.
The concern has been triggered by recent cases of violence against pupils and teachers that have hit the headlines. In one, a 15-year-old boy fell into a coma after being beaten by a gang on his way home from school. In two cases involving protection money, a 13-year-old was beaten up and another student was murdered for refusing to pay.
School gangsters often have roots in the adult triad gangs. School-leavers who join the triad groups then recruit gang members from their former school friends. Weekly payment of about 50 pence secures the pupil protection.
Secret society activities commonly include extortion, gang fights, bullying and carrying weapons.