Mexico seeks to fight school bullying with new policies

- Some 5,000 young people die every year in the country because of bullying, says one study, the last death being reported two days ago.

Mexico City (AA) – The Mexican government Thursday announced the implementation of a program to combat bullying after the death of a 12 year-old boy this month.

Hector Alejandro Mendez Ramirez, was attacked by his fellow school pupils on May 14 and remained hospitalized with head injuries until his death in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas two days ago.

The death has spurred the Mexican government into action with Emilio Chuayffet, the secretary of education, announcing the program to prevent and reduce bullying in schools across the country, from kindergarten through high school.

"With the increase in bullying statistics in Mexico, the Ministry of Education is making a thorough review of the available information to document alternatives to prevent and reduce this phenomenon, and the best ways to help victims of active or passive bullying," said Chuayffet.

Mexico has been ranked as the the worst place for bullying incidents at the secondary school level globally since 2011, according to studies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cited  the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico.

The National Human Rights Commission said in March that 11 percent of the  14.6 million children who attend elementary school have been threatened or robbed of possessions by fellow pupils.

A further finding indicated 7 percent of the 6.6 million students attending middle school have been threatened by a classmate.

A 2013 study by Senator José María Martínez found that just over 5,000 young people die each year because of bullying in Mexico.

But while recognizing the problem, Chuayffet said there were problems with the statistics.

"It is complex to document bullying statistics because the decentralization of education transferred also the responsibility for preschool, elementary and middle education to the 31 states of the country,” said Chuayffet,

The government of Tamaulipas and the Ministry of Education expressed regret at the latest death and said the program will implemented in the last quarter of 2014 to a still undetermined number of schools around the country both public and private.

By Jesus Caudillo

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