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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

The school responsible for the safety of the students

SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Direct bullying
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Non-especific
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT:

The case took place in the first week of school after winter holidays. A teenage girl, student in 9th grade, broke up with her boyfriend, a student two years older than her from another school. Being upset and nervous, due to the girl’s acts, during a school break, the boy went to the girl school, entered without any problem, went to her class and when he saw her started to use a bad language and punched her more than once.
The classmates tried to help her, but the boy was very turned on and violent. They have alerted the teachers, who intervened and brought the boy out of the class.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

After the teachers have managed to take out the aggressor from the class, the girl was taken to the school doctor in order to receive medical care; following the altercations the student had no serious injuries, there was no need for hospitalization.
The boy was taken to the principal's office to find out who is and why he act violent. The school principal called to the local police, who intervened and began an investigation of the case.
Also the director of the school where the boy is learning has been contacted and the formal teacher of the boy, trying to find out if he was on that day at school and what was the reasons for absence. The parents also were contacted to come to school and discuss the situation.
Were initiated meetings between those involved in the case, teachers, principals from both schools and students involved directly (the boy and the girl) along with their parents. Were discussed: the two pupils school history, the relationship between them, the behavior at school and outside the school area, the relationship with teachers and parents and if they have been involved in other conflict situations.
The boy was fined by police in the presence of parents for injuries, and was proposed for expulsion from the school - but after discussions and results of the investigation, the boy received lower grades for school indiscipline.
During the school board meetings has been identified the need to start of school safety procedures (the school entrance door to be closed all the time, the access to school to be allowed by the teachers security guards, identification cards for school students, video system, etc.).
Also requests were made to the police inspectorate to include the school on patrol cars and pedestrian routes of the police officers, especially during arrival and departure of students from classes and during breaks, and the police involvement in developing campaigns for public awareness on preventing juvenile delinquency and victimization of students.
The school principal requested to the teachers to develop activities to prevent violence in school.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

Violence in schools has become a major problem lately, and the unanimous opinion of the students is that this is a phenomenon likely to grow in the field of formal education. In terms of security level, only a small part of the students believe that educational institutions can not feel secure, because of the fact that any strangers can came in this institution, but most students considering the school environment as being secure.
If students feel that school premises are still safe, the zones around schools present a higher risk of violent incidents. Therefore, some students believe they can become victims both inside and outside their school. This situation could develop a sense of fear, distress, and frustration, all of which influence the harmonious physically and mentally development of the students.
This case had a negative impact for all actors involved. The victim was traumatized and also were physical consequences. The aggressive boy was affected by the lower grade for the behavior issues and was threatened with expulsion from the school to any other mistake. Parents of two students were also affected. And school image has suffered; now the school is under the school and police inspectorate observation.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

The student admitted that she had a relationship with the boy who assaulted her, but had not expected such a reaction from him. The girl said that she knew the boy to have a temperamental behavior, but not aggressive. She was affected of what happened and that she is ashamed of her colleagues and teachers and did not want to see again the boy.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

The boy became angry because the girl broke up with him through an SMS and not offered the opportunity to discuss. When he saw the message could not think lucid and thought that he have to punish the girl for her acts. Also mentioned that he did not want to punch her, but that could not control. Later he apologized to the girl and teachers and promised that will never act like that again.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

The classmates said that they knew about the girl's relationship with the boy with two years older than her, but did not know that they broke up. When they saw him entering in the class and violently stormed to the girl, they tried to stop him and to defend the girl.
The boy's classmates have said about the boy that is not the first time when he acted ugly and violent, he often hurting their colleagues and addressed bad words, trying to show them "how strong and important" he is.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

The school breaks represent a space and a time period where students are not under the strict supervision of teachers and encourages the direct interaction between students. This allows the manifestation of different attitudes and behaviors, including those related to violence.
Regarding the teachers' attitude towards the violence, in general they are involved in solving conflicts, discussed with those who caused the violent situations, meeting with parents, and when the situation requires, recourse to coercive measures consulting the school board council to give to the violent students lower grade for the behavior issues and in more serious cases to expel them from school.
The form teachers are actively involved in the class life, during class-meetings treating various important topics as school deviance, conflict management, etc. Not only teachers engage in the education of students but also school psychologists that whenever they were reported cases of school violence have acted by providing psychological assistance.
Teachers mentioned that students should be better supervised, and not just during school hours but also after, during breaks. The problem is that there are many students and very few teachers and they cannot handle and supervise all the students. Plus the teachers need also a break, to prepare their materials for the next class and other. The best thing would be to have an external system of monitoring and supervision of students.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

The school security has become for the directors of the two schools the first priority. At this time in schools anyone can enter and exit. This must stop. We are looking for solutions and hope to find them.
Also was pointed the lack of support from the authorities, they said that safety in schools is done under the responsibility of local authorities. Both directors were involved in solving the case quickly and efficiently and in seeking solutions to prevent such future situations.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

The girl parents were very disappointed of the school safety of their children. They believe that school should be a more secure and safe environment for students. Also the parents blamed the school counselors who have a passive attitude, ignoring tasks and proactive role that it should be in the school community, by offering psychological support and by involving students in identifying and solving their problems. Today students are facing with all sorts of situations, joins entourages unfriendly and do not know how to handle conflict situations and how to avoid them. Therefore students need guidance and psychological support. And frequent meetings between students and school counselors can identify early deviant behaviors.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

There are no real partnerships and cooperation at school level (between students, teachers, parents, school management) and no at inter-institutional level, to define situations of violence, to develop strategies for prevention and control and to monitor and evaluate their impact.
In this case the police officers promptly intervened, trying to find solutions to solve the conflicts, to restore order and to restore a sense of safety in the school by directing the school management to take some measures. Police Inspectorate also shown to be open for a future involvement in informing and aware the students on the effects and consequences of violence in schools.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

It can be said that violence between students in different forms, is a general phenomenon in schools. Most times, the violence of the students (especially forms of "light" aggression) is perceived as frequent attitudes and behaviors in any school.
The school plays an important role in the socialization of students, teachers are educational agents, directly responsible for student behavior; and together with the school management and responsible public authorities should be more involved in ensuring safety and protection in schools and also to influence the development of nonviolent behavior among students.

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 23.05.2012

Posted by: Pierre VERDIN - CLASSROOM TEACHER, GENERAL COURSES TEACHER, CITIZENS SCHOOL COORDINATOR
Type of school: SPECIALIZED PROFESSIONAL SECONDARY SCHOOL
Country: Belgium

Comparison :

• Our school, to my knowledge, has never had such an incident. Now we already had to call the police because the older brothers had come to beat the teacher of their little brother.
• We have a double door that opens only from within (for fire safety). To get into the school, there are three possibilities:
o Ring the interphone for an SA or educator to open the door.
o Having the key
o Having one person inside who comes to open.
• Our experience was conducted using the third possibility. At this level, the student was not in the course (this happened due to lack of vigilance on the part of his teacher who was to make lesson).

Recommendations :

• Personally, I do not really agree with the part of the report's conclusion which says: "Teachers are directly responsible for the behaviour of their students."
I think it is the parents who are directly responsible of their child's behaviour.
So, yes, it is true, the evolution of society brings more and more concerns in the behaviour of the young (and old )student and the respect for authority, adult and others, has always less space in education which parents are required to provide to their children.
Unfortunately, the teacher, before becoming a professional in pedagogy and in learning, MUST now be professional in education. How can we ensure the transmission of values of listening, respect ... to students who unfortunately don’t have this kind of values in their roots at home?

Relevance :

• It is a training for parents which we should find.
• Finally, otherwise, trainings in conflict management, active listening or else already exist...
• It would be really interesting that this sort of training would be MANDATORY and not only for the professors, because all the actors of the educational team must work in a same direction and with the same means and same goals.

Date: 06.05.2012

Posted by: INA MARKEVIČIENĖ
Type of school: SECONDARY SCHOOL
Country: LITHUANIA

This case is more an act of violent behavior then the case of bullying, but we have to admit that the case happened in front of the friends of the girl and she was humiliated, so this can cause bullying.
The school can not deal with the boy’s problems, but the psychological help has to be provided for the girl. The parents should feel the support of the school, they have to know that their child is safe and secure there. Also they have to feel that their opinion is important and they can express their feelings freely.
Also every school has to ensure the safety in it, the bullying; acts of violence would be reduced when the environment of school is safe.
Our school has a receptionist who registers all guests. This person knows all children of our school so if she sees the stranger she can ask to register or leave the school, if some problems occur, she can call the police or contact school authorities.
Also our school installed video cameras, which show the view of the corridors, students can feel safer and the person who observes the school can report the problem if it occurs.

Date: 24.04.2012

Posted by: Isabelle GRIMEE, Chantal BROSTEAU, Christophe BOURGOIS, Stéphane VOGELEER
Type of school: SMSW - School mediation service in Wallonia
Country: Belgium

ACCORDING TO OUR PRECEPTION, THE SITUATIONS DESCRIBED DO NOT CORRESPOND TO REAL BULLYING BUT TO SERIOUS VIOLENT ACTS.
THE EMERGENCY SITUATION DESCRIBED LEANS TOWARD THE SEARCH FOR RESPONSIBLE-CULPRITS, TOWARD THE PERSON , THE INSTITUTION, THE FAMILY, EVEN SOCIETY.
THIS KIND OF REPRESSIVE SOLUTIONS TOWARD THE INSTITUTION DOES NOT SEEM TO BE RELEVANT. THERE IS A RISK OF ESCALATION REGARDING THE MEASURES ADOPTED TO FIGHT VIOLENCE AND THE YOUTHS’ LACK OF RESPONISBILITY IN FRONT OF THEIR OWN ACTS.
GENERAL PERCEPTIONS OF THE FOUR SITUATIONS DESCRIBED.
IN EACH SITUATIONS, WE CAN PERCEIVE A RESPONSIBLE AND SIGNIFICANT INTERVENTION ON BEHALF OF EACH ACTOR.
THE POLICE INTERVENTIONS WITHIN THE SCHOOLS, BOTH FOR REPRESSION AND FOR PREVENTION, SURPRISE US.
A REFLEXION IS BROACHED, ASSOCIATED TO EACH CRISIS SITUATION, CONCERNING BOTH THE FACTS AND THE PREVENTION INTERVENTION.

Date: 25.03.2012

Posted by: Anelia Ilieva
Type of school: Vocational school
Country: Bulgaria

In this particular case all necessary measure have been taken for a long-lasting solution. Probably the intervention could have been more effective if the boy had been counseled by a professional rather than being sanctioned. This has been the solution, which our school has been using and implementing in similar cases.
Certainly, cases of the heart are really hard to solve. The conflict is really interpersonal - it does not involve problems and issues related to some intolerance, to racism, to homophobia, etc. - it involves hurt feelings and unhappy ending to love. Teenagers are not famous for taking such blows easily and sometimes the reaction comes as a surprise both the party ending the relationships and peers and teachers.

Date: 15.03.2012

Posted by: Liana Papadopoulou
Type of school: Gymnasioum
Country: Greece

• The main concerns are arising regarding the specific case of intimidation associated with the safety of students within the school environment. Compared to the Greek educational system that often does not provide a guard (except perhaps in exceptional cases, numerous large schools in large urban centers), we could say that there are similarities in the level of safety of students from extracurricular interventions-attacks. Schools usually have free access not only during lessons and breaks on time and if some of them lock their entry is made in individual cases on the initiative of the directors of these schools or teachers' association. However, in the Greek schools of the time interval some teachers "make call" supervise the school grounds to protect students from any danger could arise. The student perpetrator in the incident under consideration was not understood by some professor. This case, therefore we are concerned about the ways in which schools are obliged to create conditions for a safe environment not only for students but for teachers. Especially when the episode played out in the classroom and not in the courtyard.
• The second element has to do with what we define as bullying eventually since this incident could be in a perspective considered as an incident of violence which the police and not the school. From another perspective, however, by the time the incident occurs within the school environment, the abuser and the victim are students even from different schools, could be considered as a school bullying.
• The problem definition of this incident can be discerned in the way of its deal. The victim has no authority to impose any penalty to the student perpetrator since it belongs to his school. So quite rightly chose to call the police to investigate the situation and impose a penalty on the perpetrator. Also, communication with the school to which he belonged and the abuser is in turn the parents of the pupil was necessary procedures to be informed and able to get all parties involved. Neither schools nor the perpetrator or the victim could not have done anything in terms of prevention of this violence. However, this event was the occasion to raise this as school safety procedures that were necessary to adopt the following order to prevent similar incidents and unpleasant conditions to create a safe learning environment for everyone involved in it.

Date: 15.03.2012

Posted by: ANTONAKOS NICKOLAS
Type of school: High School
Country: Greece

This case reminds me of two incidents that I have been eye witness. These incidents took place in two different schools in urban areas, a few years ago and the common feature was the invasion of non-students in the school for beating a particular student. Their purpose was achieved in both cases while there was police intervention to investigate the cases.
In the first incident, a non-students gang of young people, entered the school. It was the exams period without lessons taking place. In school, there were only the teachers involved with the exams the particular day. Students, after ending their written exams were leaving school, so, there weren’t many people in the schoolyard. The gang easily found the student that they were looking for and started to insult him. Then, hit him with punches and kicks sending him to the hospital with mild concussion and several bruises before the director and the few teachers who were there understand the event and intervene. The cause was a controversy over the victim with another student in a place outside the school, a few days ago. This third student asked his friends - the gang mentioned above - to get revenge.
In the second incident, a family (father, mother and son) - went to the school, trying to find a particular student who insulted the daughter of the family. The time for the end of the daily courses was approaching. Most children had already left school because their lessons had ended and also many teachers had left school. The family easily found in the schoolyard the student who had offended their member. Immediately, attacked him verbally and started beating him. There was the involvement of the Director, the Deputy Director and teachers to separate them and smuggled the victim.
I will not mention how to tackle but how to prevent such occurrences. The existence of school security guards and surveillance of the school area by groups of school teachers acts as a disincentive to people entering illegally into school. However, there are periods or time zones that surveillance is more relaxed because of certain obligations in school. The two cases reported occurred precisely in such periods. So, there is a need these gaps to be filled in various ways and measures to strengthen surveillance should be taken during all the period of school operation.

Date: 01.03.2012

Posted by: Mick Flower
Type of school: 11-18 Comprehensive
Country: UK

I am surprised that this Case Study is considered to be a case of bullying. To my way of thinking this is a "one off" act of violent behaviour. The boyfriend had not previously threatened or tried to intimidate his ex-girlfriend. He had not been sending her messages or stalking her. By the sound of things he has gone round to her school in order to talk to her and has lost his temper. It could be argued that he may not have intended to physically harm her as there was no weapon involved.

This is, on the other hand, a major safeguarding issue for the school. If someone can just walk in off the street and get access to a child in a classroom there is a major problem. The school would fail an Ofsted inspection in the UK if measures to safeguard the students are not in place.

This is a police matter, not a school issue. The boy will need counselling and anger management training but this should be the responsibility of the courts and criminal justice system not his school.

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