TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES
Cyber-bullying towards a young girl and a teacher on Facebook
SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT:
- Direct bullying
- Indirect bullying
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT:
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT
When and how the event started, how the school detected it ?
The events occur in the three classes of the third year, English immersion.
On Friday 11th March 2011, beginning of afternoon, a mother visibly shocked arrives in the school and asks to speak with a responsible person. She says that she has seen two pictures on Facebook, one of a teacher made up in Nazi and another one of her daughter (we will call her Anne) full of hairs (the girl has a light facial hairiness).
These images go around for several days but her daughter collapsed when she saw the number of her friends’ signatures, some of them very close to her.
The date is important. The day after, Saturday 12th of March, the pupils of the third year, English immersion, are leaving to England for language immersion. Anne, the signatories and the teacher made up in Nazi take part to this trip.
She is so shocked that she refuses to continue her schooling in the College and she also refuses to take part in the trip despite of the importance it has for this type of teaching.
Main actors involved
The victims: Anne and one teacher.
The main bully: the boy of the class who has posted the images on Facebook.
The followers (13 pupils out of 80): those who have clicked for “I like” and those who have posted comments.
Type of bullying actions carried out
A tens of days.
Which actions have been undertaken, which strategies have been implemented to combat school bullying in this case
The responsible persons of the school reassure the mother and promise they will call her back at the end of afternoon.
The teacher in charge of discipline leads an investigation, looks at the Facebook site and prints the pictures and the signatures pages.
A meeting with the headmaster, the educator of the concerned degree and the two persons in charge of discipline (for the first and second degrees) is immediately organised.
The events are recognized and serious, so the school decides to impose sanctions :
- The pupil who has posted the picture will be excluded from the trip, and put under disciplinary contract for serious fault. A 3 days suspension of the school during the week of the trip to England has also been decided.
- The signatories will also receive a disciplinary contract for serious fault and they will have one day of suspension after the trip.
- For all the pupils, a meeting will be organized with the CPMS (psycho-medico-social centre) and with the teacher in charge of discipline as soon as he will be back (after the trip).
- These students’ parents are informed by phone and some of them are received by the assistant directress in the evening.
The problem is solved at the end of the afternoon. Anne’s mother is informed about the decisions taken. Anne will take part in the next day trip to England.
The day after, a clarification is made by the assistant directress before departure.
The pictures are removed from the website.
IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION
Impact of the bullying action on the didactical pathway, on the students’ motivation, on the school environment…
Anne has been supported by the CPMS (psycho-medico-social centre) for a long period of time. She was sometimes depressed and sometimes calling into question the seriousness of the event.
The other pupils have also been heard by the CPMS.
The school reaction has strongly impressed all the pupils. Indeed, it was one of the first times that the school imposed such a serious sanction. The pupils realised that in this school supposed to be “soft”, hard decisions could be taken.
POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM
What was her perception of the causes of the bullying action ?
Did she inform anybody ?
What help did she need and from whom ?
At this level, the difficulty is the victim inconstancy in her behaviour toward the other pupils when she considers the events (to remain “friends”) but in private, she confesses a real wound.
The CPMS work has allowed Anne to be restructured, allowing this way the other pupils involved to better understand the extent of the problem.
Anne has continued her education in the school.
POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S)
What was their motivation ? Why did they choose the victim ?
Why this pupil and this teacher? A light “unsightly” hairiness, the simplicity of the teacher… For pupils of the immersion class (the “super option”), in a group of pupils particularly superficial where top brand clothing is enough to appraise a man. These are triggering factors…
For the young bully, it was just a game. It was “for fun”, just a “good joke”.
Did they feel remorse ?
The bully has had no remorse. He has not understood his trial. He has just seen his pleasure, making a good joke.
The other pupils involved, the followers, have had two different types of reaction, especially after the meetings with the CPMS: either remorse, realisation of the seriousness of the events or incomprehension of the fault (like the parents’ reactions).
This incomprehension is meaningful. Some months later, at the time of the 4th class party, one of the mothers whose daughter had signed “I like”, told the headmaster that her daughter had suffered an absolute inequity, although the mother understood perfectly the College reaction.
At the time of a non-school activity, when the teacher in charge of discipline is close to the pupils, the Facebook problem has been brought again. While discussing, it clearly appeared that for some pupils, it is the girl who had not understood very well Facebook. For the young people, Facebook is a virtual world. They don’t see it very seriously, except maybe when they are victims themselves.
POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS
Their awareness of what was happening, their perception of the causes, what they did and why…
Confidentially, all the pupils of the school have been quickly aware of the sanctions and they have had different reactions.
The pupils of the three classes concerned have received a mail from the headmaster reminding the rules as regards the respect toward the others, the image rights…
POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS
Their awareness of the situation, how they managed to understand what was happening, what they did…
Teachers are in their « world ». Nobody could imagine a problem with such an extent. The teacher targeted on Facebook has been deeply affected to be compared to a Nazi. Nevertheless he has taken part in the trip and has gone on teaching in the three classes.
Cooperation received from the other teachers and from the headmaster
All the teachers of the school have received an explanatory dossier about the use and the dangers of Facebook.
POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS
Were they aware of what was happening ? What did they do to address the episode ?
The headmaster has given the parents a disciplinary contract. This document explains the sanction, reminds the rules of the school, the changes expected at the level of the pupil’s behaviour as well as the follow up that will be provided (for instance, the bully’s contract has been extended to the next year). The contract is signed by all the parties.
The days of school suspension have been dedicated to the reparation of the fault (letter of apology to the victims, work on the use and the dangers of Facebook, work on the respect toward the others…).
The headmaster had been yet confronted to problems linked to Facebook but not so seriously (quarrels between girls about a boy friend for instance). In these different cases, the contract with the parents had allowed to solve the problem easily.
And for a long time, a mail had been sent to all the pupils’ parents with information about the rights on the respect of private life and the respect between persons, even on the Internet.
According to them, what is needed to ameliorate the situation ?
The problem of the victims (Anne and the teacher made up in Nazi) has made another problem appear: the incomprehension of some culprit pupils. However without comprehension, a sanction is ineffective. Another reflection came out on the need to lead an awareness campaign by the young people. Another idea is to identify one or two persons of reference in case of bullying (for instance the two persons in charge of discipline who are not directly in contact with the pupils)…
POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED
Did they notice what was happening ? Did they get informed and by who ?
Anne’s mother has been informed by her daughter. The other parents have been informed by the school.
Did they have the possibility to modify the situation and how ?
The father of the pupil who posted the pictures has not agreed with the school reasoning. He has put pressure on Anne, phoning her mother and making her feeling guilty (her daughter should have understand that it was a joke, sentimental blackmail with the pals, risks of school problem for his son…) in order to make her withdraw her complaint by the headmaster. At his turn, he has posted a text on Facebook telling his son not to worry about the sanction because he was going to offer him a trip to the US. His son has gone on learning in the school.
The parents of the signatory pupils have had two main reaction types :
- An open support of the school with a parental “reinforcement” (for the greater number of them).
- An attempt to discuss the contract for some of them. The disciplinary contract would maybe put in question the school success of their children. The image of their child would be tarnished… Couldn’t we just eliminate this contract?
Anne’s mother who was put on pressure, wanted to reverse, minimizing the consequences and reducing the event to “teenagers’ games”. After a discussion with the headmaster and the assistant head who have assured a “protection” to Anne (she feared her daughter to be expelled from the group), she went back to serenity.
POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL
Were they aware of the situation ? What did they do ?
The CPMS has developed sessions for reflection with the pupils concerned (collectively or individually for those who wanted). These sessions have allowed the pupils to express themselves, to understand the seriousness of the events.
All the teachers have received documents allowing them to become aware of the problem and giving tracks for action.
How to improve communication and cooperation?
A debate is led to set up prevention actions.
POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS
The ground actors have received a full support from the school authorities to face this problem.
Concerning the veracity of the bullying event?
It seems this event borders on bullying event: only one fact (photos), a very short length of time (15 days maximum), intention to harm or just a mockery?
We would rather speak about a main critical event.
About the causes of the event and the mechanism that allowed the phenomenon?
No doubt, a group effect exists. I tick “I like” because some pupils of the class did it (sometimes even without looking at the content).
The three classes were isolated from the others, in a separated building. A microcosm has been created, a little world centred on itself (showy, pretentious pupils…).
About the school reaction?
The school reaction was quick (a few hours). The victims (the teacher and the pupil) had to get their dignity back before the next day trip, when all the actors would be together again.
Humanity and rigor are necessary to fight cyber-bullying, as it is in all disciplinary approaches. But here new problems appear :
- “Don’t do to others what you would not like them to do to you”, this sentence loses its relevance. Some pupils wonder that we don’t understand that it was just a game. How can we take Facebook seriously?
- Ticking « I like » on Facebook is for many young pupils the first “signature of contract”. They don’t really understand, like the adults do, the extent of what they do. However the adults impose sanctions. Our society trivializes breaches of contracts and relativizes plighted word. But for the one who receives the signature in his/her face, this signature is the person!
- The wounds that we inflict to others are made by interposed keyboards. We join the virtual slaughter games. We don’t really feel personally involved (it is not like a real physical conflict).
Concerning the type of answer brought by the school (disciplinary or educational)?
The school reaction seems to be quick, but justified by urgency.
The sanctions imposed seem « hard » for the bully-pupil (who can not take part in the language immersion trip) and for the signatories (one day suspension). But these sanctions are justified by the necessity to make an example.
The bully-pupil has not been excluded. The school has stuck to an educational logic: disciplinary contracts and days of suspension within the school dedicated to the reparation of the fault.
Two types of measures (sanction and support) have been quickly and simultaneously decided, that certainly allows to limit the negative effect of bullying.
One question remains: How to develop empathy by those who don’t seem to feel it? (« it’s just a game », a virtual world not to be taken seriously…).
Concerning the lessons learned, concerning the mechanism for prevention set up to avoid this situation to occur again?
A debate is led with the CPMS to set up prevention actions. Indeed, it’s a pity that the teachers have received the file after the event as well as the letter sent to all parents.
A referent person to solve bullying problems is another idea that makes its way. This device is interesting. It reinforces the idea that the adult is the guarantor of well-being and security within the school.
Both conclusions seem relevant.
Comments about this Case Study
Posted by: INA MARKEVIČIENĖ
Type of school: SECONDARY SCHOOL
Unfortunately, technologies are being used negatively. When children are the target of bullying via mobiles phones or the internet, they can feel alone and very misunderstood. They may not be able to identify that what is happening to them is a form of bullying, or be confident that the adults around them will understand it that way either. Previously safe and enjoyable environments and activities can become threatening and a source of anxiety.
Bullying is a crime, both in the real world and over the Internet, with real consequences and punishment. Students do not have to participate in such an activity. Students do not have to encourage others who are bullying. They have to report cyber-bullying activities to a teacher, a principal, a parent or other trusted adults.
Young people and their parents should be made aware of pupils’ responsibilities in their use of ICT, and what the sanctions are for misuse. Students and parents should know that the school can provide them with support if cyber-bullying takes place out of school.
Parents should be informed about the activities of their children in the social networks and understand the threats of the Internet.
If this case happened in our country first of all we would recommend our students to inform the parents, then they have to inform the class teacher, the social educator and school authorities and if it is necessary the police. The police are an institution which can punish the bully; it can give a fine and monitor the behavior of the bully for some time.
After the case we would talk with students about school rules, consequences and punishment one more time.
Various organizations can give help for the victim, our school would ask for help in the PPT (pedagogical- psychological center) which gives psychological support for victims.
“Children line” is an organisation where students can call and tall about their problems including cyber-bullying anonymously.
Posted by: ŞIPOTEANU ANCA-IULIANA
Type of school: SCHOOL GROUP NICOLINA IASI
The case study brings forward cybernetic abuse as form of online aggression. Online violence (cyber-bullying) appears more and more, being associated with online means of communication (social networks being an important catalyst, favouring a bigger exposure to aggrieve behaviour). Social networks are a real success among youngsters, this age group being at the same time the most exposed to the risks that can appear as a result of the use of this communication form. The risks target mainly the psycho-social side of those affected by online aggression: decrease in self-esteem and security feelings, increase of anxiety, avoidance of group activities, social withdrawal or even refusing to come to school anymore
This is the situation of the victim pupil from the presented case study (Ana). The teacher whose photo appeared on Facebook is also a victim, being compared to a Nazi, fact that affected her truly and brought her many image prejudices.
The direct factors had different reactions: from considering the act a simple joke (the aggressor and his father), to intimidation reactions and pressure acts on the victim’s mother to punitive measures taken by the school (the pupils that posted the photos was excluded from the trip organised by the school, he was also suspended for 3 days and forced to take part in a disciplinary course for his acts). Also the other pupils that posted comments on the photos, taking thus part in this form of aggression, were disciplinary sanctioned.
As immediate strategy, the photos posted on Facebook were deleted (including the comments). Usually, this strategy is considered as the most efficient by the children. However, efficiency should focus mainly on the ways and procedures to prevent aggressions, means of making pupils conscious of the fact that these kind of abuse have multiple consequences, of judicial nature too. They will therefore be less inclined to participate in such violence acts. In some European countries, these kinds of strategies are already implemented (e.g. Childline organisation from Lithuania or Unicef organisation of Serbia that promote policies against cyber-bullying).
An important role is also that of the school (by educating its pupils and consolidating behaviour norms). Here, the rules and regulations for anti-aggression should be well defined and brought to knowledge to all involved parties of the educational act (pupils, parents, didactic staff, social community). They will also appear in the Internal Rules of the school.
Organising informative campaigns and workshops on this theme is essential. Their role is to increase the level of consciousness on cyber-bullying. Calling in specialist in this domain can be another way of action.
Our school develops such campaigns for informing pupils regarding internet security, with the help of volunteers from « Save the Children Iasi, involved in the Sigur.Info project. The activities focus on acknowledging the benefits as well as disadvantages of computer and internet use, as well as the necessity of creating a responsible and safe attitude towards the use of online resources.
Posted by: ELZA GHEORGHIU
Type of school: VASILE ALECSANDRI High School
This case shows a recent tendency among students in schools (recent at least in Romania). They often send each other strange text messages, which they consider jokes, without realizing that they may hurt people. Although they have been repeatedly told about the dangers of the internet the temptation is too great to resist. Incidents like this can involve everybody in the community and can continue for a long time without being noticed by either school or parents. For lots of students the virtual reality is first perceived as a protective wall or a hiding place that comes between them and the rest of the world. They are virtual therefore, they don’t assume any responsibility. Some people have the feeling that they can do anything if they are not seen. Students should be aware that virtual behaviour is part of one’s behaviour nowadays. Written disciplinary contracts used in schools should include this aspect of students’ conduct.
Moreover, it is necessary to foresee changes in our behaviour brought about by changes in society/ technology. This can help us set up prevention activities. (organising debates on advantages/disadvantages/ risks we may face when using Facebook; experiential activities to teach students empathy skills; community service; voluntary work: helping those in need; making each case public: engaging all students in decision making)
Posted by: SACHELARU LAURENȚIU
Type of school: High School
The analysis of this case, in my view, should be distributed between several levels: social networking sites and students, teacher image, school attitude towards the invasion of the privacy through audio – visual channels.
For many young people, the social network Facebook and other networks from the same area, represent the "move" of the real life in the virtual environment. Any access to the social networks is a real danger for young people (access is allowed even at the age of 13 years). So whatever happens at home, at school, in the street, the young people post on Facebook, either from a computer or from a mobile phone, because these networks lead to addiction. The pupil from this case study shows a certain dependence on the network, evidenced by the shock it suffered from the case. Young people should learn to clearly define the real life from the virtual one.
The teacher involved in this case is a victim of "transparency" of the private life, illegally, by this kind of networks/virtual life. In Romania, we can observe in recent years, a growing number of such cases in schools: students filming during courses, filming acts of violence between student - student, even student - teacher. Usually they are posted on sites with video sharing, like youtube, where you can hide the identity of the posted information. Law in Romania sanctions these actions: those who film their teachers without their approval, they can be expelled or can be subject to criminal prosecution.
Internal Rules of the school contains clear provisions on these forms of violence, in accordance with the School Regulation: Using in school, classroom, video cameras, the cameras of the cell phones is punished by the confiscation of the camera/phone and surrender to the parents or are sanctioned disciplinary, lower grades (2 points, and if the students will do again the same thing he will be expelled from the school for 3 days and will be disciplinary sanctioned with 4 points).
Posted by: Diana Cantos
Type of school: Concerted
A teacher took a photo with a student in a school play. The student had asked. The teacher agreed. The photo was made with the student's camera. While the student said his teacher to contact Tuenti, so that the teacher could enter Tuenti and see a picture of him to which someone had added a very nasty comment. There was another student of the school they did not class this teacher. When she saw the picture with the comment requested to please the student who had risen to its discontinuance. He could not, for technical reasons, but offered to desetiquetar the two people, he and his teacher. The teacher insisted that remove the picture. Once done, the teacher chose to clarify things with which he had made the comment and your parents. He did and he apologized. It did not turn to anyone else. The boy was struggling because they were having a bad cas family time. He advised the help of a psychologist, but was not followed the case, because the task was given to parents. There was no such behavior later in the student again.
The student only insulted the teacher, not to any other student, but if he did, he would have acted the same way.
Recommend dialogue with the offender and the parents, because behind bullying is usually a "back room" you need to know to know how to handle the case.
Posted by: Alfonso Vanacore
Type of school: High School
In Italy there are laws governing the use of photographic, audio, video etc..
Briefly summarize in the following points
• The portrait of a person can not be displayed, reproduced or commercially distributed without the consent of such person.
• The picture can not be displayed or commercially distributed when its display or commercially detrimental to the honor, reputation or the dignity of the person portrayed.
• If the image of a person or parent, spouse or child has been exposed by injury to the decor or the reputation of that person or those of relatives, the court, upon request, may provide that processes abuse, except for damages.
Our Head In view of these indications and given the constraints of a complaint to which the office is held, has invited the entire school community to be careful about:
• the use of personal web space, even if only partially accessible to third parties;
• The graphics, sound and multimedia distributed by any means;
• Always consider the first, regardless of any other consideration, the value of respecting the privacy of others and the moral duty of its preservation.
Recalling also its penalties:
The failure to comply with the above will incur a penalty ranging from a minimum of 3,000 euros to a maximum of 18,000 euros, or, in the case of sensitive data or processing situations involving injury, even serious detriment with possible damage from a minimum of 5,000 euros to a maximum of 30,000 euros (cf. Art. 161 of the Code).
However despite this warning also our school would have handled the situation the same way. Although the case dealt with by our school bullying is verbal analogy that is known is that the bullies do not show any remorse or understanding of the damage caused by their actions and are often the parents to belittle what happened.
In my opinion this index and that the sanction involves only the interruption of the bully but also helps to solve the underlying problem that is to make sure that you istauri a relationship of mutual respect and collaborative between bully and victim is the foundation of all social growth.
Since the victim has changed institution, the problem was partially solved.
Posted by: Jésica Ramirez Medina
Type of school: Secundary School
The case then goes on to describe it, first, a case of indirect bullying a pupil of an English language immersion school, and on the other hand, a direct bullying to a teacher of that school, which also teaches at the bullied student, the student harasser or harassment promoter and student followers of abuse.
Both actions of abuse have been produced over the Internet, more specifically, through Facebook, with the publication of photos of both victims, the student and the teacher, in which both appeared retouched, so that the student appeared with a sort of aura of hair around his face, and the teacher appeared in a school for Nazis.
It was a fact, in principle, outside of school. Although all the students involved were from the same school and same class, even the teacher humiliated. So clearly, this is a case of cyberbullying. This type of harassment is very difficult to detect at first, and then to treat and eradicate, since neither the students nor their parents as a problem of harassment as such, but a "joke" because the world Facebook, or the Internet generally not considered a real world, but rather, something virtual, where you can insult, vex, scoff, etc. of any thing or person without the need or responsibility to think about the consequences .
The response to an event of this magnitude should be quick, concise and serve as examples for future similar actions. In this case, the response from schools was rapid, once the student victim's mother informed the director of the center of what happened, a few hours. It was that fast, because in his own Facebook page fans out and involved students, and student or harassing impeller (as was the one who climbed the manipulated photos to the network). Subsequently, the teacher responsible for the discipline of school and the head immediately organized an inquiry into all the facts and quickly sentenced a punishment, since the facts were known and very serious.
As a penalty or punishment is specified that the student who posted the pictures on Facebook of the student and teacher, was expelled from school and also could not attend language immersion trip. Students followers of the page also had their punishment or penalty, especially to recognize that the "simple fact" to support a website, was also the fact of supporting a stalker or abuser. All parents of all students involved were quickly informed of what happened and the consequences that the actions of their children have had and have. Some parents, such as harassing student, received personally the principal to explain in detail the seriousness of the matter, and on the other hand, the dangers of the network.
In conclusion, we can say that this kind of intimidation, harassment and abuse over the Internet, it is essential to detect the harassment case as quickly and act immediately against. In addition, a good education will be critical for parents and students about new technologies of information and communication, Internet and social networks of which should know its advantages and disadvantages. For teachers, especially the older ones, will be essential courses on the management of the Internet, and especially the use and management of social networks, in my opinion I think that if we know the tool and the possible dangers of the same The first part of the problem would be solved. I, from my point of view, and if this problem had come to my center, and was involved we would have been practically the same, but I reiterate that it is essential knowledge of social networks.
Posted by: Petia Marcheva
Type of school: Secondary school
This described situation again is similar to the one, which we analyzed together with the vocational school for tourism from our town – a case of cyber bullying, in which two girls published a defamatory material on MySpace. Like in our case, here the direct aims of the harassment are one particular girl and a teacher, the attack is not massive, it is very focused and therefore hurtful. Such a scenario should be best solved through participation of the entire school team and general inclusion of the children in informational and educational activities. This is mainly connected to the fact that the attack is using a mass media and it should be responded to by a massive education and prevention. From this and other similar cases we can draw the conclusion that girls quite often use such indirect techniques for practicing psychological tormenting. This fact is probably due to deeper empathy of the girl-bullies, because their actions hurt the victims very deeply.
Prevention could be achieved via regular lectures and presentation of specific cases and the outcomes from them (including the harsh consequences and measures taken by the school management for sanctioning the perpetrators of such harassment). Forbidding the use of mobile phones at school or limiting the children's access to controlled educational Internet web-sites within ICT lessons, could have unsubstantial effects and would not influence the potential perpetrators, particularly when they are not on the school territory. On the other hand, understanding the fact that everybody can be identified on the Internet; that every mobile number can be “caught”, that such indirect attacks have extremely serious and lasting negative effects on the victim's psyche could influence the behavior of potential wrong-doers. Due to the specifics and the needs of our students, prevention lectures and situational games are very deeply integrated in our daily work and we are achieving excellent results.
Specific courses for teachers and psychologists on the topic of indirect and cyber bullying and the particularities of female empathy would be very useful. Ready lectures, which to be presented before the children, supported by similar thematic case studies.
Posted by: Mariya Stankova
Type of school: Vocational school
This case, shared by our Belgian colleagues, related to use of Facebook for defamation and humiliation of a child, provoked me strongly. There are many cases among the children for picking a victim whom they systematically harass, insult and mock, thus expressing their superiority. Facebook is the place for the teenagers. This is where everything happens, this is where they promote themselves and quite innocently start their campaigns against the uncomfortable ones. Some do it for fun, in order to show themselves off, to present themselves as important in the social network – as more important and significant than the others. Still the innocent picking on somebody starts to bring them pleasure, they like to humiliate, to insult and to harass the different fellow students. They get applauded for this and get positive comments from the other network members. This encourages them and makes them feel more important – makes them feel as “dictators”.
However, what provokes the youths to behave like that? Surely not the school. The reason in this case is what they have seen and copied from the movies. For the young person it is important to try him/herself out in all kinds of situations, which could appear in his or her life. The missing role of the parents as educators and mentors, which thus becomes visible, is another topic. The parent quite often is absent from his child’s life. He is devoted to the daily problems. It is important to make the difference between “good and bad”, “right and false”, “allowed and forbidden”, “worthy and unworthy “. The child does not recognize and accept these rules in its life, because nobody introduced them as norms, which it is supposed to abide by when communicating with others.
How should we react in a similar case involving our students? I would say that there is probably no exact strategy for reaction in such a situation. The responsibility falls on the parents mainly. They should undertake immediate measures concerning the upbringing of their children. The actions of the youths hurt another person who needs and has the right to be protected and rehabilitated before the society and the perpetrators to be adequately punished and reprimanded for their actions. The school institution is also involved. It is an educational institution, which other parents have also trusted with their children, feeling calm about their education and safety. If we don’t pay attention to what is happening, if we stay silent about it and cover it up, the guilty ones would continue their actions towards the chosen victims. This requires immediate gathering of the students, the parents, the teachers who know all involved children, the headmaster and most definitely a psychologist. This meeting should have the objective of clarifying the reasons for the actions of the bullies, the feelings they were experiencing during the implementation of this “public inquisition”. This would give guidelines to the psychologist in connection with the consultations, which he/she should carry out with all students, as well as in connection with the topics, which should be discussed with all other children. It is necessary that administrative measures from the educational institution are imposed. These punishments prove the irreconcilability of the educational institution with such kind activities on behalf of students as well as the responsibility, which is borne by each student, in relation to the school authority. Each student would thus know that such acts are not appraised.
Posted by: Mrs B Humphrey-Lewis
Type of school: Comprehensive
This case study follows very closely the type of cyber-bullying seen increasingly in school. It was handled in a similar way to how it would have been handled in this school. This graphically underlines the dilemma faced by pastoral staff when responding to such an incident. There is a distinction in the minds of students, and some parents, about the relevance of what happens in the “virtual” world of the internet and the way people respond to each other “face to face”. Also such incidents now increasingly involve the Police who, having received a complaint from a parent, are involved in explaining the legal implications of placing offensive images and messages about others on social network sites to other students and their parents. This reflects the legislation operating in the UK but may not be the same situation in other countries.
Although students are extensively taught about the dangers and responsibilities of using the internet on social sites/blog/chat rooms etc. there appears to be a widespread sense that what is said and done in such a medium does not count and is not real. Students are encouraged not to say anything about anyone on the internet that they would not say directly to someone ‘s face.
Parents who are not regular or proficient users of social networking sites and are frequently shocked by the nature of comments and the language used. Students feel obliged to indicate “I like” so that they are not a victim of such treatment. In this case where a student's appearance and clothes reflect their status within the group any derogatory reference to a student’s appearance would be particularly unkind. The altered image of the student would be the ultimate insult and designed to cause the most pain. It was unfortunate that the boy who did this not only showed no remorse or understanding of his actions but his behaviour appears to have been supported by his father. It is, therefore, understandable that the victim was so deeply affected by this incident. The incident would probably continue to be a subject for on-going internet “chatter”. Now that most mobile phones are “smart” this harassment can, potentially, continue relentlessly throughout the school day as well as at home.
The teacher involved appears to have been satisfied with the action taken and continued with the school trip. The nature of the image was considered to be particularly thoughtless when considering Belgium’s history.
Although there are many parallels in the way that this school would have handled this incident the use of the suspension time for students to perform directed research about “Facebook” and write letters of apology was considered to be a very constructive and relevant use of their time. Although disciplinary contracts are used within this school for other poor behaviour, a contract regarding bullying behaviour is not, currently, used.
Posted by: Sophia Mitroulia
Type of school: gymnasium
The main common element that seems to led to the parallel study of the two case studies in which a student have fallen victim to harassment from their peers through social networks. In both case studies the victim did not cause problems with behavior for their classmates or teachers. The student fell victim to critical comments or jokes about her appearance, but did not speak up because she feared she would not have a friend. This behavior created greater isolation leading to continued harassment from the social network.
In both cases the school's reaction was immediate. The teachers' association in collaboration with the director looked into the incident and provided severe penalties for perpetrators such as their expulsion from school. It is noteworthy that in both cases the parents of the perpetrators could not believe that their children had caused a problem.
At the «Cyber-bullying towards a young girl and a teacher on Facebook», the father of the pupil who posted the pictures has not agreed with the school reasoning. He has put pressure on Anne, phoning her mother and making her feeling guilty (her daughter should have realised that it was a joke, emotional blackmail with the pals, risks of school problem for his son…) in order to make her withdraw her complaint by the headmaster. At the «Τhe social network creates problems» the parents of the three girls who taunted Catherine could not believe that their children had done something so grave. They tried to comprehend their daughters’ point of view who claimed that it was just jokes and teasing among adolescents and they tried to see Catherine’s who was shy and scared.
A great difference is that at the «Τhe social network creates problems» there is no reference to intervention by the school counselor of the school after the recording of the incident. However contribution to the dealing with such incidents is essential.
In contrast «Cyber-bullying towards a young girl and a teacher on Facebook» the CPMS work has allowed Anne to be reintroduced into the school, allowing this way the other pupils involved to have a understanding of the extent of the problem .
With the help of an expert, the victim's family must instill the necessary confidence and pride in herself and in diversity, and for her to find the strength to ignore the perpetrators, giving them a clear message that she is not so vulnerable as believed. In addition, parents should help the child acquire interpersonal skills to make their own friends and ask for help from a teacher or another adult when exposed to repeated verbal or physical attacks, social or electronic bullying. Anne has continued her education in the school.