Video of UAE school bully ‘attacking’ classmate sparks outrage

A recent survey revealed that nearly a third of students in the UAE have suffered daily bullying. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Video of UAE school bully ‘attacking’ classmate sparks outrage

  • Girl can be heard threatening classmate while pulling her hair and swearing
  • Research revealed in 2019 one third of UAE students suffered daily bullying

DUBAI: The GEMS Education company, which recently announced a multimillion-dollar expansion into Saudi Arabia, has confirmed that a viral video that appears to show a bullying incident was filmed in one of its schools and that “appropriate action has been taken.”

The video has caused widespread upset and prompted social media influencers to condemn what many describe as disturbing images.

In the video that was widely shared on Twitter, a female student can be seen tugging on another girl’s hair before threatening her and dragging her around by her sweater.

It lasts nearly one minute and shows the girl forcibly pulling her victim’s hair. The victim then appears to cry before trying to walk away.

The other girl grabs her arm, telling the girl that she wants to talk to her.

As her victim sobs, the attacker tells her not to tell anyone about what has happened, adding “I will get really mad.”

It has not been revealed what provoked the attack.

In a statement a GEMS Education spokesman said: “We are aware of an earlier incident at one of our schools and can confirm that appropriate action has already been taken in accordance with our safeguarding policy. The school acted promptly to investigate and resolve the issue, and we will continue to prioritize the safety, security and well-being of all our students.”

Detailing actions the company is taking to combat bullying, a spokesperson added: “GEMS Education takes a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to all forms of bullying. The safety, security and well-being of each and every one of our students is an uncompromisable priority across all our schools.

“This is why we have a dedicated central Safeguarding Team, Safeguarding Leads and pastoral teams in every school, training for staff, as well as policies and procedures for addressing and resolving cases judiciously and effectively.”

School takes ‘necessary steps’

According to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which governs Dubai’s schools, the latest incident took place about a month ago — but the video went viral earlier this week after it was posted on Twitter on Sunday.

“The safety and well-being of all students at Dubai’s private schools is a top priority for us. Following an investigation into the incident, we can confirm the school has already taken necessary steps to resolve the matter,” a KHDA spokesman said.

“We want to reassure the community that our schools, educators and parents are committed to continue providing a safe, caring and positive learning environment to all students in Dubai.”

The video has sparked widespread outrage, with many calling for more action.

Parents ‘need to know their children’

Social influencer Karen Wazen, who has 2.4 million followers on her Instagram account, discussed the video and her concerns about bullying in a recent post.

“It was really disturbing to watch,” the concerned mother-of-three tells viewers. “But I think more importantly it was disturbing to actually accept the fact that this happens. This happens closer to home than you can imagine. This could happen to your children. Your children could also be the bullies.”

She said bullying was an important issue that needed to be addressed, and acknowledged that her own children could be exposed to bullying.

Wazen said it was important for children to feel they could be open with their parents.

Parents had a responsibility to know who their children mixed with, she said. Her post has received more than 102,400 likes.

 

One-third of UAE students suffer daily bullying

A recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that nearly a third of UAE students are bullied on a daily basis, while 31 percent are bullied a few times a month.

In July, 2019, the UAE Ministry of Education held a week of events aimed at combating bullying in the country.

In October, 2018 Saudi Arabia announced an $800 million, 10-year plan to build schools across the Kingdom in partnership with the UAE-based education company GEMS.

And in August, 2019, it was announced that Ma’arif Education and Training Company had been acquired by a joint venture involving GEMS Education KSA.

Ma’arif private schools was established in 1971 in Saudi Arabia and has more than 13 campuses across the Kingdom, with more than 20,000 students.


US military accuses Iranian forces of boarding Liberian-flagged civilian ship

Updated 13 August 2020

US military accuses Iranian forces of boarding Liberian-flagged civilian ship

WASHINGTON: The United States military on Wednesday said that Iranian forces had boarded a civilian vessel in international waters in the Gulf.
The US military’s Central Command released a grainy black-and-white video on Twitter showing a helicopter near a large ship.
“Today in international waters, Iranian forces, including two ships and an Iranian ‘Sea King’ helicopter, overtook and boarded a ship called the ‘Wila,’” the US Central Command said in a tweet.
According to Refinitiv tracking data, Wila is a Liberian-flagged oil tanker and was currently anchored near the United Arab Emirates’ port of Khor Fakkan.
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the incident took place near the Strait of Hormuz and the ship was eventually released by Iranian forces. The official said the United States military was not involved in anything other than monitoring the situation.
Tensions between Iran and the United States increased last year following a series of incidents involving shipping in and near the Gulf.
In July 2019, Iran briefly seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf after Britain seized the Iranian tanker Grace 1, accused of violating sanctions on Syria.