In a viral video that is doing the rounds on social media, a student of Pathways School in Noida, near India's capital New Delhi, can be seen being slapped by another student in an apparent "consensual peer slap bet" that caused the victim 25% hearing loss.
The incident came to light on Thursday (7 September) and school authorities say they have taken action against the boys involved.
A slap bet is a wager between two people, often children and youth. The bet does not involve money, but allows the winner to slap the loser as hard as they can.
In the video, filmed inside the school premises on 4 September, a group, comprising of at least four students can be seen laughing before striking the victim, a 16-year-old Class X student, very hard.
Another student who is filming the 26-second video can be heard saying words such as "Snapchat story". The video was widely shared on Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook.
The student who was slapped ended up with a damaged eardrum. According to the India Today news portal, doctors said the incident left the student with a hole in his eardrum.
The boy has stopped going to school and cries repeatedly, the victim's parents said, according to the news portal. The father of the victim wrote to the school principal Sunanda Sandheer to seek action against the boys involved in the slapping incident.
"We are writing you this email in respect to the incident that took place with my son (name withheld), within the school premises and within the normal school timings, on 4.09. 2017 around 14:00 hours [9.30am BST]. The incident has been recorded on video where it can be clearly seen that few students of the school have surrounded my son, and one of them is recording the whole incident on his phone for the purpose of "snapchat story". It can be further seen that our son is under great deal of stress and fear and is helpless for so many students have surrounded him (sic)," the email read, according to the Hindustan Times publication.
"Three boys have been suspended from school — the one who slapped for one month and two others who assisted for two weeks. The boys will make a public apology in front of everyone. They will reflect on their learning from this. They have all written letters of apology to the boy and his parents," Pathways School director Dr Shalini Advani told Hindustan Times,
Advani said that the slap bet ritual is common among teenagers but the video miscommunicates the incident as bullying. The victim's parents said they did not agree with the arguments and insist their son was bullied.
"He is under stress and this incident has caused us a great deal of pain. He was taken to the washroom and bullied by others. I did not file any police complaint and have sent a complaint to school for their intervention. I trust them and believe action will be taken as how my son was bullied," the father said.