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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

“I am like you”

SCENARIOS OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Indirect bullying
CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT::
  • Ethnic-cultural differences
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT:

Ángela is a 14 year old girl from the Dominican Republic who has been living in Spain for 3 years. Since she started attending her present school, two years ago, she has found it difficult to relate to her classmates. They say this is because of her lack of hygiene (for example, her hair is always disheveled and she smells). The socio-cultural level at the school is medium-high. Her classmates criticize her behind her back, saying that she smells, her mother is of “doubtful reputation”, etc. Ángela is always alone at break time. She talks to nobody except, sometimes, to Carmen, a girl with Down Syndrome in the class next to hers. Esther, the most popular girl in Ángela’s class, always scowls at her and starts whispering about her when her back is turned. Ángela is not a good student, and nobody helps her with her work. She is always sad. It appears that her mother is not even aware of this, because she is out working all day and gets home quite late. Ángela’s new tutor this year realized what was happening straightaway and decided to talk to the school counselor to seek a solution. The counselor suggested the possibility of dedicating a few class tutorials to the importance of hygiene and its effect on relationships with others. He also encouraged the tutor to use group work in class, because this usually produces beneficial results. So the teacher spent a tutorial session in class talking about and working on the subject of hygiene. However, this had no effect on Ángela’s hygiene because she continued to arrive at school just the same as before, disheveled and smelling. The teacher also began to organize group work in class. She put Ángela with a group of fairly hardworking, generous children who are now helping her to integrate. For her part, Ángela tells them stories about her country and talks to them about the different places there. The situation seems gradually to be improving.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

Regarding the strategies adopted by the different people involved to deal with this case of peer abuse: The students think that Ángela has been helped while she told them stories about her country and the places there. After a while, tell the teachers. They encouraged her to use group work. Others think that nothing was done. The teachers think that the only person to act was the tutor, who observed the situation and told the school counselor about it. They think there should have been an interview with the girl. Perhaps her lack of hygiene was not her fault: it would depend on her circumstances, for action to be taken first with her, an interview with her mother to find out if she knew about the situation and the problem her daughter’s lack of hygiene was causing. The counselor was the one who advised the tutor and suggested certain measures, which she then carried out. They think the action taken was correct, but first they would talk to the girl and the family and then they would act with the class and with the students responsible for the bullying. The parents think that not enough was done to play down the conflict. The school counselor notes that what was done was to dedicate a tutorial session to talking about the importance of hygiene and its effect on the others and encourage the use of group work in class.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

The students, parents, teachers, principal and school counselor believe that this situation influenced the learning and teaching process in the classroom. They also agreed on the consequences. Because the students think it's OK to have a go at others. The students learn through many mechanisms, one of which is role models. A marginalized person cannot perform well at school and this will have a big effect on her learning. A hostile situation is created for both sides. The one who is learning finds it very difficult to study well and the one who is teaching is sometimes not aware of the bullying, and others will try to intervene to improve the atmosphere at school.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the students’ motivation (interest, effort, etc.): Those questioned think that it does affect motivation, and their answers coincide: When there is a situation of injustice and exclusion, the other students are aware of this and a situation of fear, or wariness, is created in the class because nobody wants to be the next victim. Motivation helps to overcome difficulties.
Possible effects on the students’ results. Those questioned think that the victims’ results may be affected, but not those of the bystanders. Their academic results will be the same, but their mentality will change. Academic results may deteriorate if there are problems of convivencia (harmonious interaction) in class. In this case, which seems rather “hushed up”, they do not think “academic” knowledge of the subjects being studied will be affected, but the students’ skills (for example, social skills and sense of citizenship) certainly will be. Classmates’ results will also be affected, although to a lesser extent. A tightly bonded group works better, both from the academic and the social point of view. Others think the actual bullying itself was unwittingly stimulated. The counselor thinks it would cause low self-esteem, anxiety, sadness, a sense of vulnerability, shame, and would teach the students that everything can be obtained through violence, which then becomes overvalued and is seen as being worthwhile. In the bystanders, fear, a passive attitude, unawareness of the problem.
Regarding potential problems of integration at school: All those questioned believe that there will be problems of school integration. They think that the bullied student will of course suffer from social exclusion. The feeling of loneliness and scorn she experiences at school, especially at this age, will affect all areas of her life. This situation brings with it health problems, self-marginalization and academic failure. The bullied student will not want to go to class and the bully will feel all powerful. Because relationships are being created based on inequality.
With regard to the possible impact of the bullying in adult life, as manifest in forms of social behavior, everyone thinks that bullying does impact adult life. Because every time they tell someone they smell, they are going to insult them and abuse them psychologically, and that negative attitude will stick. They will get more aggressive and ruder, they won’t know how to be polite, etc. Others think that when they grow up they will be serial murderers. They will treat people badly because of their image, religion, nationality... They will be more scared. Citizenship is defined as the capacity to live as part of a society, winning respect and respecting others; able to show solidarity, help others, speak out against injustice, empathize... In their adult lives, bullies may develop aggressive conduct, basing power on abuse. “Bystanders” may also remain passive in the face of injustice. Both situations have a negative effect on the development of socially active citizens. For the victim it will be a difficult phase to get over, if they ever do get over it. The bully will always be a bully: later, with his wife, children, pets... The victim may become incapable of establishing relationships, or have health problems, psychological trauma, personality disorders, submission, etc. Among the bullies, unsupportiveness, lack of empathy, violent attitudes. Among the bystanders, passive unsupportiveness and lack of empathy.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the atmosphere at school: All those questioned said that it will affect the atmosphere at school, because a good climate, both at school and in society, is based on good habits with regard to values.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

With regard to the victim’s thoughts about the reasons why she is being bullied, The students think she feels lonely, forlorn, sad... She thinks she is being bullied because she is from another country. She will think it’s her own fault. She thinks it’s not fair. She thinks she has to take showers, and doesn’t tell anyone because she doesn’t have any friends.
Regarding the help the victim thinks she would find useful, the students expressed the following opinions: Some students think moving to another school, or changing the way she is, taking more care with hygiene. Others say talking to the bully and then, if she carries on bothering her, telling the teacher.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

Regarding why the bully acts in the way she does, They say it’s because they don’t think it normal for someone to go to school with their hair in a mess and smelling; it’s their reaction to the repugnance they feel towards this person. Because they feel superior to the victim. To pose, or because she receives no affection from her family.
The students think that the bully chose that specific victim rather than anyone else because she is not like the others: she smells and her hair is untidy. Because her mother has a “bad reputation”, she is black and she doesn’t talk to anybody, she is new and has problems making friends, and because she is the weakest.
Regarding the bully’s remorse, some students think the bully will feel sorry when she begins to get to know the victim better and when she realizes why she goes to school smelling and with her hair untidy. Others think the bullies will not feel sorry and that they act as a group.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

The bystander students knew what was going on, but did not do anything through fear.
Regarding what bystanders thought about the causes of the bullying and what they did. They think the girl smelt and her hair was always untidy. She didn’t know how to defend herself. Others helped Ángela to communicate better and take care with her hygiene. Because they couldn’t stand seeing an innocent person being attacked. Others think it’s fun and helped the bully because she made them laugh.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

Regarding the teachers’ awareness of what was going on: They think they may have been aware, although the case provides no information.
Regarding what they did to find out and understand what was happening. The teachers say they did not seem to have done much. They spoke to the girl and to the other students involved; intervene and if they consider the situation serious, as it is described here, get in touch with the different agents who should know about it: the tutor, the families, the school management and the counseling office.
Regarding the help contributed by other teachers: The teachers think they do not seem to have helped.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

It appears that the principal was not aware of the problem.
What should have been done in this situation. As a starting point, the teachers should have been aware, applying and giving students practice in the values of solidarity and integration. Also, make them aware that if one is being bullied, or knows that a classmate is being bullied or knows about any other type of violence, they should tell the class teacher. As soon as anyone detects a possible case of bullying, inform the tutor, the school counselor and, always, the school principal. Then, a meeting (principal, counselor, tutor and the person who found out about the bullying) to analyze, assess the situation, take measures to guarantee the safety of the victim and take preventive action with the bully. From the moment when the bullying is detected, the counseling office should support the victim and, if necessary, refer them to Mental Health. Also, meet with the family to tell them about the situation and the measures being adopted. The teaching team should be discreetly informed and urged to monitor the affected student more closely. Prepare an initial report to be submitted to the school inspection service. Discreetly gather information from the people around the aggressor and the victim. The Counseling Office is in charge of investigating the case and preparing a final report. Hold a second meeting to analyze all the information and take final decisions. If the bullying is confirmed, punish the aggressor, perhaps passing the case on to the social services, health institutions or, depending on how serious it is, reporting it to the police.
Regarding the principal’s role in this type of situations, the principal of this school thinks that his job is to coordinate the procedures for implementing measures and punishments, guarantee the victim’s safety and confidentiality and, if necessary, report and punish the aggressor.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

Regarding the parent’s awareness of what was happening: They believe they were not aware.
Regarding how parents would find out about what was happening and what information they would seek: They would go and talk to the tutor and counselor at their child’s school, but only if their children refused to talk to them about it first and after the school had told them how to solve the problem.
Regarding whether the situation could change: The parents think the situation could have changed if everyone had contributed, especially Ángela, as the principal person involved.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

With regard to what the counselor would do: Act immediately and take preventive measures.
To prevent this type of situation: Set up an Integration Plan for new students right at the beginning of the school year, create support networks and organize student helpers and group dynamics.

Regarding what could be done to improve communication and cooperation among students (and thus prevent school bullying in general). Talk to the students a lot.
Work with the whole class group to create dynamics of verbal and non-verbal communication and implement cooperative learning as the learning-teaching methodology, and ensure that the rules for convivencia in the school and in the classroom are very clear.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

First, I will try to offer an approach that seeks to provide an optimal response to incidents of this nature, quite common today, result of cultural diversity that flows into our classrooms.
We are dealing with a bullying situation where the victim is a child who has experienced some changes in her life that have been able to generate a stress situation. Angela feels a sense of weakness before the situation in the school with their peer group and some difficulties in responding in an assertive manner. The school and the learning provided through skills and knowledge allow her socialization.
According to the level and degree of immaturity in which lies the conflict that is described, we consider trying mediation strategies with the aim of improving the school climate is a priority.
Converge on the victim the usual features that occur in cases of child harassment. Hence the need for intervention to correct deficiencies related to her progressive decrease of school performance at a crucial stage as the first years of high school. At the same time, the case has a tendency to isolation from the group, with alliances with another child who also shows special needs, Down Syndrome.
We propose working from a tutorial these negative emotional states in conjunction with a psychotherapeutic approach and support from the mental health field. Just keep in mind that it is still fresh in the time the girl's experience with the change of country and customs. It should be worked from the individual to avoid an increase in this state of depression, loneliness and isolation that can increase the academic failure and truant behavior. Teacher’s work should focus more on her appearance and personal hygiene.
This individual level of intervention would also try to promote motivation and interest in school learning, with tutorial support to optimize their knowledge and skills in front of the group. Angela’s poor academic performance facilitate stigmatization and segregation from her peer group.
These actions would seek to reduce the unbalance between the victim and her aggressor.
Another line of work, from the perspective of mediation, would be to try getting the involvement of parents (both the victim and the offender) and the involvement of the class group where the observers of the conflict are, trying to generate empathy for the situation.
With respect to actions between the two children and their parents could be established some agreements to guarantee a minimum coexistence and respect for difference. Such monitoring could be carried out by a school mediator or by the mentor of students involved.
At school level, intervention should be placed according to the development of specific programs and protocols to facilitate positive learning and awareness in the class groups. In this approach, meeting with parents could be incorporated to provide them information and advice to improve skills in affection, empathy and recognition of overt conflict.
With the definition of intervention programs and protocols, dialogue focused on what has happened and the impact on each student is facilitated in an institutional context of non-arbitrariness. At this level it is important the involvement of the head teacher. Such interventions are aimed at creating a support network in the environment.
We must remember that in the future Angela could incorporate this negative learning and could develop reactive aggressive behaviors against her peer group in these episodes are not solved properly. Similarly, the offender could develop this aggressive behavior based on abuse power, both with classmates and future relations.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

There is agreement in all aspects of the impact of bullying unless the expectations about the possible outcomes of the students: It is said that the impact of bullying influences on the way they learn and teach, motivation, potential integration problems in school longer, school environment and the consequences in adulthood. In regard to the perspective of stakeholders, set out some opinions from the point of view of the victim (in terms of thoughts, it may help), the aggressor (causality of their actions, repentance, and choice of victim), other students (reactions, causal attribution), teachers, relatives, headmaster, counselor in terms of knowledge, information and proposals for action.
At the end, it seems the situation has improved with the group-work inclusion, though others proposals have been ineffective.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDY IN BULGARIAN LANGUAGE:

Аз съм като вас.pdf

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 24.05.2012

Posted by: Isabelle PISTONE
Type of school: Obervatory of violence and school dropping out - Ministry of Education
Country: Belgium

Common-divergent elements:

In the French Community, for secondary education, the CPMS (psycho-medico-social centre) or the “Service of Health Promotion in schools” remains the front-line service for this type of situation.
Both services intervene for the student victim and his parents. They also offer work with the class and the student perpetrator on issues of prejudice / exclusions / discriminations.
It is advisable for the teacher:
• Communicating to the class about what is happening, without stigmatizing the child(ren) victim(s) of prejudice and discrimination and taking a moment to address the situation.
• Recreating the link between students and try to change the stereotypical representations towards the student victim. To do this, put students in touch through projects, works ... The most important is that students pursue a common objective and that the result is favourable (positive evaluation of teamwork, individual skills ...).
• Working on the emotional level. Different exercises allow students to step into the shoes of someone else, make them feel what a person can feel in order to develop empathy (role play, classroom discussions around documentary addressing the concept of prejudice, stereotyping, discrimination ...).
• Collectively generating in class a code of life which includes the rules to be followed by all to promote a serene environment which is respectful of everyone and its differences, and to banish all attitudes that undermine the moral or physical integrity of the students.

With the student victim:

• Taking time to communicate individually with the student who seems victim of prejudice.
• Showing a support to the pupil.
• Promoting an activity where he can highlight himself by showing his skills.
• Suggesting to him a more formal support through the intermediate of the CPMS or an external service (School mediation, mental health service...). Indicating him a reference adult having a good relationship with him whom he can address to.

With the student author:

• Remember the law, the internal rules of the institution and the educational project of the school.
• Bring the author to look at the qualities of every individual.
• Bring the author to accept the other as he/she is by a reflection in an interview (work done with an external counsellor, a CPMS agent, a school mediator...).
• Show the author that he could very well be one day himself a victim of prejudice - discrimination and explore with him how he would feel in this situation.


Recommendations
As far as prevention is concerned, the issue of stereotypes can be approached in a transversal way in most school subjects. It is essential to make students aware of these phenomena both through theoretical presentations and practical tools, and to organize activities within the school where mutual support and solidarity of all are necessary for successful activity (collective sport activities, solving a riddle in groups...).

Relevance :
- There are tools made available for teachers to address the topic of bullying in the case of social prejudice in the classroom.

Examples (not exhaustive list):
• www.pipsa.be: website of reference of games and educational tools in health promotion that offers prevention tools for classroom use.
• "Discrimination yourself": booklet and posters made by the Directorate for Equal Opportunities of the Ministry of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation in partnership with the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against racism and the Institute for equality of women and men. Illustrated by Catheline and Frederic Jannin, this booklet is intended especially for girls and boys aged 12 to 18 years and addresses in a concrete and ludic way topics such as discrimination, freedom of speech, incitement to hatred, injunction to discriminate, racism, sexism, bullying, homophobia, disability, etc.. This booklet is available on the website www.stop-discrimination.be

- The appointed and temporary education staff (teachers, educators, CPMS agents, with the exception of administrative staff and other services staff…) in ordinary and specialized education (all levels and networks combined), can receive training during their careers. These are aimed to maintenance, improvement or adjustment of knowledge and skills in the perspective of making them able to meet the general and specific objectives of the “Missions Decree” (from the Education Ministry) or of the CPMS missions.

Some trainings are intended to familiarize with the tools of prevention of violence and incivility.

Example:
- Establishing and supporting the delegation of students as participatory structure;
- Education to citizenship in the school;
- Promoting awareness of values and democratic processes in school.
These trainings are divided into mandatory basis (6 half-days) and voluntary basis (by waiver granted by the Minister at the request of the school if these courses are held during school time, otherwise, there is no limitation).
However, specific training on bullying among students would be necessary to teachers so they can quickly identify situations of bullying among students.


Date: 25.04.2012

Posted by: AUDREY HEINE
Type of school: Obervatory of violence and school dropping out - Ministry of Education
Country: Belgium

CAUSES OF BULLYING EVENT: ethnic-cultural differences
FACTUAL DESCRIPTION OF THE BULLYING EVENT:
Ángela is a 14 year old girl from the Dominican Republic who has been living in Spain for 3 years. Since she started attending her present school, two years ago, she has found it difficult to relate to her classmates. They say this is because of her lack of hygiene (for example, her hair is always disheveled and she smells). The socio-cultural level at the school is medium-high. Her classmates criticize her behind her back, saying that she smells, her mother is of “doubtful reputation”, etc. Ángela is always alone at break time. She talks to nobody except, sometimes, to Carmen, a girl with Down Syndrome in the class next to hers. Esther, the most popular girl in Ángela’s class, always scowls at her and starts whispering about her when her back is turned. Ángela is not a good student, and nobody helps her with her work. She is always sad. It appears that her mother is not even aware of this, because she is out working all day and gets home quite late. Ángela’s new tutor this year realized what was happening straightaway and decided to talk to the school counselor to seek a solution. The counselor suggested the possibility of dedicating a few class tutorials to the importance of hygiene and its effect on relationships with others. He also encouraged the tutor to use group work in class, because this usually produces beneficial results. So the teacher spent a tutorial session in class talking about and working on the subject of hygiene. However, this had no effect on Ángela’s hygiene because she continued to arrive at school just the same as before, disheveled and smelling. The teacher also began to organize group work in class. She put Ángela with a group of fairly hardworking, generous children who are now helping her to integrate. For her part, Ángela tells them stories about her country and talks to them about the different places there. The situation seems gradually to be improving.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:
Regarding the strategies adopted by the different people involved to deal with this case of peer abuse: The students think that Ángela has been helped while she told them stories about her country and the places there. After a while, tell the teachers. They encouraged her to use group work. Others think that nothing was done. The teachers think that the only person to act was the tutor, who observed the situation and told the school counselor about it. They think there should have been an interview with the girl. Perhaps her lack of hygiene was not her fault: it would depend on her circumstances, for action to be taken first with her, an interview with her mother to find out if she knew about the situation and the problem her daughter’s lack of hygiene was causing. The counselor was the one who advised the tutor and suggested certain measures, which she then carried out. They think the action taken was correct, but first they would talk to the girl and the family and then they would act with the class and with the students responsible for the bullying. The parents think that not enough was done to play down the conflict. The school counselor notes that what was done was to dedicate a tutorial session to talking about the importance of hygiene and its effect on the others and encourage the use of group work in class.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:
The students, parents, teachers, principal and school counselor believe that this situation influenced the learning and teaching process in the classroom. They also agreed on the consequences. Because the students think it's OK to have a go at others. The students learn through many mechanisms, one of which is role models. A marginalized person cannot perform well at school and this will have a big effect on her learning. A hostile situation is created for both sides. The one who is learning finds it very difficult to study well and the one who is teaching is sometimes not aware of the bullying, and others will try to intervene to improve the atmosphere at school.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the students’ motivation (interest, effort, etc.): Those questioned think that it does affect motivation, and their answers coincide: When there is a situation of injustice and exclusion, the other students are aware of this and a situation of fear, or wariness, is created in the class because nobody wants to be the next victim. Motivation helps to overcome difficulties.
Possible effects on the students’ results. Those questioned think that the victims’ results may be affected, but not those of the bystanders. Their academic results will be the same, but their mentality will change. Academic results may deteriorate if there are problems of convivencia (harmonious interaction) in class. In this case, which seems rather “hushed up”, they do not think “academic” knowledge of the subjects being studied will be affected, but the students’ skills (for example, social skills and sense of citizenship) certainly will be. Classmates’ results will also be affected, although to a lesser extent. A tightly bonded group works better, both from the academic and the social point of view. Others think the actual bullying itself was unwittingly stimulated. The counselor thinks it would cause low self-esteem, anxiety, sadness, a sense of vulnerability, shame, and would teach the students that everything can be obtained through violence, which then becomes overvalued and is seen as being worthwhile. In the bystanders, fear, a passive attitude, unawareness of the problem.
Regarding potential problems of integration at school: All those questioned believe that there will be problems of school integration. They think that the bullied student will of course suffer from social exclusion. The feeling of loneliness and scorn she experiences at school, especially at this age, will affect all areas of her life. This situation brings with it health problems, self-marginalization and academic failure. The bullied student will not want to go to class and the bully will feel all powerful. Because relationships are being created based on inequality.
With regard to the possible impact of the bullying in adult life, as manifest in forms of social behavior, everyone thinks that bullying does impact adult life. Because every time they tell someone they smell, they are going to insult them and abuse them psychologically, and that negative attitude will stick. They will get more aggressive and ruder, they won’t know how to be polite, etc. Others think that when they grow up they will be serial murderers. They will treat people badly because of their image, religion, nationality... They will be more scared. Citizenship is defined as the capacity to live as part of a society, winning respect and respecting others; able to show solidarity, help others, speak out against injustice, empathize... In their adult lives, bullies may develop aggressive conduct, basing power on abuse. “Bystanders” may also remain passive in the face of injustice. Both situations have a negative effect on the development of socially active citizens. For the victim it will be a difficult phase to get over, if they ever do get over it. The bully will always be a bully: later, with his wife, children, pets... The victim may become incapable of establishing relationships, or have health problems, psychological trauma, personality disorders, submission, etc. Among the bullies, unsupportiveness, lack of empathy, violent attitudes. Among the bystanders, passive unsupportiveness and lack of empathy.
Regarding whether or not the situation affects the atmosphere at school: All those questioned said that it will affect the atmosphere at school, because a good climate, both at school and in society, is based on good habits with regard to values.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:
With regard to the victim’s thoughts about the reasons why she is being bullied, The students think she feels lonely, forlorn, sad... She thinks she is being bullied because she is from another country. She will think it’s her own fault. She thinks it’s not fair. She thinks she has to take showers, and doesn’t tell anyone because she doesn’t have any friends.
Regarding the help the victim thinks she would find useful, the students expressed the following opinions: Some students think moving to another school, or changing the way she is, taking more care with hygiene. Others say talking to the bully and then, if she carries on bothering her, telling the teacher.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):
Regarding why the bully acts in the way she does, They say it’s because they don’t think it normal for someone to go to school with their hair in a mess and smelling; it’s their reaction to the repugnance they feel towards this person. Because they feel superior to the victim. To pose, or because she receives no affection from her family.
The students think that the bully chose that specific victim rather than anyone else because she is not like the others: she smells and her hair is untidy. Because her mother has a “bad reputation”, she is black and she doesn’t talk to anybody, she is new and has problems making friends, and because she is the weakest.
Regarding the bully’s remorse, some students think the bully will feel sorry when she begins to get to know the victim better and when she realizes why she goes to school smelling and with her hair untidy. Others think the bullies will not feel sorry and that they act as a group.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:
The bystander students knew what was going on, but did not do anything through fear.
Regarding what bystanders thought about the causes of the bullying and what they did. They think the girl smelt and her hair was always untidy. She didn’t know how to defend herself. Others helped Ángela to communicate better and take care with her hygiene. Because they couldn’t stand seeing an innocent person being attacked. Others think it’s fun and helped the bully because she made them laugh.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:
Regarding the teachers’ awareness of what was going on: They think they may have been aware, although the case provides no information.
Regarding what they did to find out and understand what was happening. The teachers say they did not seem to have done much. They spoke to the girl and to the other students involved; intervene and if they consider the situation serious, as it is described here, get in touch with the different agents who should know about it: the tutor, the families, the school management and the counseling office.
Regarding the help contributed by other teachers: The teachers think they do not seem to have helped.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:
It appears that the principal was not aware of the problem.
What should have been done in this situation. As a starting point, the teachers should have been aware, applying and giving students practice in the values of solidarity and integration. Also, make them aware that if one is being bullied, or knows that a classmate is being bullied or knows about any other type of violence, they should tell the class teacher. As soon as anyone detects a possible case of bullying, inform the tutor, the school counselor and, always, the school principal. Then, a meeting (principal, counselor, tutor and the person who found out about the bullying) to analyze, assess the situation, take measures to guarantee the safety of the victim and take preventive action with the bully. From the moment when the bullying is detected, the counseling office should support the victim and, if necessary, refer them to Mental Health. Also, meet with the family to tell them about the situation and the measures being adopted. The teaching team should be discreetly informed and urged to monitor the affected student more closely. Prepare an initial report to be submitted to the school inspection service. Discreetly gather information from the people around the aggressor and the victim. The Counseling Office is in charge of investigating the case and preparing a final report. Hold a second meeting to analyze all the information and take final decisions. If the bullying is confirmed, punish the aggressor, perhaps passing the case on to the social services, health institutions or, depending on how serious it is, reporting it to the police.
Regarding the principal’s role in this type of situations, the principal of this school thinks that his job is to coordinate the procedures for implementing measures and punishments, guarantee the victim’s safety and confidentiality and, if necessary, report and punish the aggressor.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:
Regarding the parent’s awareness of what was happening: They believe they were not aware.
Regarding how parents would find out about what was happening and what information they would seek: They would go and talk to the tutor and counselor at their child’s school, but only if their children refused to talk to them about it first and after the school had told them how to solve the problem.
Regarding whether the situation could change: The parents think the situation could have changed if everyone had contributed, especially Ángela, as the principal person involved.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:
With regard to what the counselor would do: Act immediately and take preventive measures.
To prevent this type of situation: Set up an Integration Plan for new students right at the beginning of the school year, create support networks and organize student helpers and group dynamics.
Regarding what could be done to improve communication and cooperation among students (and thus prevent school bullying in general). Talk to the students a lot.
Work with the whole class group to create dynamics of verbal and non-verbal communication and implement cooperative learning as the learning-teaching methodology, and ensure that the rules for convivencia in the school and in the classroom are very clear.
POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:
First, I will try to offer an approach that seeks to provide an optimal response to incidents of this nature, quite common today, result of cultural diversity that flows into our classrooms.
We are dealing with a bullying situation where the victim is a child who has experienced some changes in her life that have been able to generate a stress situation. Angela feels a sense of weakness before the situation in the school with their peer group and some difficulties in responding in an assertive manner. The school and the learning provided through skills and knowledge allow her socialization.
According to the level and degree of immaturity in which lies the conflict that is described, we consider trying mediation strategies with the aim of improving the school climate is a priority.
Converge on the victim the usual features that occur in cases of child harassment. Hence the need for intervention to correct deficiencies related to her progressive decrease of school performance at a crucial stage as the first years of high school. At the same time, the case has a tendency to isolation from the group, with alliances with another child who also shows special needs, Down Syndrome.
We propose working from a tutorial these negative emotional states in conjunction with a psychotherapeutic approach and support from the mental health field. Just keep in mind that it is still fresh in the time the girl's experience with the change of country and customs. It should be worked from the individual to avoid an increase in this state of depression, loneliness and isolation that can increase the academic failure and truant behavior. Teacher’s work should focus more on her appearance and personal hygiene.
This individual level of intervention would also try to promote motivation and interest in school learning, with tutorial support to optimize their knowledge and skills in front of the group. Angela’s poor academic performance facilitate stigmatization and segregation from her peer group.
These actions would seek to reduce the unbalance between the victim and her aggressor.
Another line of work, from the perspective of mediation, would be to try getting the involvement of parents (both the victim and the offender) and the involvement of the class group where the observers of the conflict are, trying to generate empathy for the situation.
With respect to actions between the two children and their parents could be established some agreements to guarantee a minimum coexistence and respect for difference. Such monitoring could be carried out by a school mediator or by the mentor of students involved.
At school level, intervention should be placed according to the development of specific programs and protocols to facilitate positive learning and awareness in the class groups. In this approach, meeting with parents could be incorporated to provide them information and advice to improve skills in affection, empathy and recognition of overt conflict.
With the definition of intervention programs and protocols, dialogue focused on what has happened and the impact on each student is facilitated in an institutional context of non-arbitrariness. At this level it is important the involvement of the head teacher. Such interventions are aimed at creating a support network in the environment.
We must remember that in the future Angela could incorporate this negative learning and could develop reactive aggressive behaviors against her peer group in these episodes are not solved properly. Similarly, the offender could develop this aggressive behavior based on abuse power, both with classmates and future relations.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:
There is agreement in all aspects of the impact of bullying unless the expectations about the possible outcomes of the students: It is said that the impact of bullying influences on the way they learn and teach, motivation, potential integration problems in school longer, school environment and the consequences in adulthood. In regard to the perspective of stakeholders, set out some opinions from the point of view of the victim (in terms of thoughts, it may help), the aggressor (causality of their actions, repentance, and choice of victim), other students (reactions, causal attribution), teachers, relatives, headmaster, counselor in terms of knowledge, information and proposals for action.
At the end, it seems the situation has improved with the group-work inclusion, though others proposals have been ineffective.

Date: 22.03.2012

Posted by: E Spolin
Type of school: 11-18 Comprehensive
Country: UK

On the surface this is to do with the girl's personal hygiene but I suspect that there is also an element of institutinalised racism within the school. What are students doing discussing a parent's reputation?

Personal hygiene is one of the most difficult issues to deal with. Often it is the fault of the parents not washing their children's clothes often enough or thoroughly enough. Sometimes it is a medical issue. Whatever the cause it is always a problem that teachers tend to duck. In my experience the job of dealing with a smelly student falls to the school nurse. Unfortunately we no longer have individual nurses attached to individual schools in the UK which poses an additional problem when it comes to linking the smelly child up with the school nurse.

It has also been my experience that the situation is never resolved by pussy footing around the issue. If a child has a personal hygiene problem then they need telling that they have a problem and then supporting in order to enable them to make the necessary changes to their life.

From the way Angela is described in the Case Study it would appear that parental involvement must be sought. If Angela is arriving looking dishevelled we need to be asking how much support she receives at home in getting ready for school. This might be a Social Services issue if staff suspect that there is a case of neglect to answer. Whatever the outcome we need to acknowledge that Angela is a very vulnerable teenager and we need to support her in any way we can.

Date: 20.03.2012

Posted by: IRIMIA CORINA
Type of school: High School
Country: ROMANIA

The most students from our school are from rural areas and similar situations are pretty much happened also in our country. Students from rural area, come generally from families with a precarious financial situation and limited access to means of sanitation (sewerage, water supply). So it happens that some of them to bother others by their lack of hygiene, although the situation is given by the poor living conditions, such as 7 people living in an area of 10MP.

The school is working to deal with these cases, both within hours of counseling and guidance (during the class) and the extra-curricular educational activities at school level, the main purpose is to promote hygiene in schools and community.
The solution for these cases must be found it primarily on the student’s families. The families should be involved in counselling activities and advised to pay more attention to personal hygiene of their children. In school an important role in dealing with a situation like this, is the form teacher (the class advisor, tutor) and the school psychologist (counsellor). The two representatives of the school mentioned and together with the pupils families can deal with situations of this kind, so as not to reach marginalization, harassment, injury, violence from colleagues (effects of the lack of involvement of those responsible for education). The students with these problems must be convinced that hygiene is a simple and effective way to stay healthy and be a pleasant presence for those around them.

Also in our school are Rroma children, a community with a fairly large proportion in Romania's demographic scene today. Differences between Rroma and Romanian persist today. This ethnic group still remains the poorest social category. In our school there are no cases of exclusion due to their ethnic belonging, the students are easily integrated into the group.

Date: 15.03.2012

Posted by: RODICA CEUCA
Type of school: Vocational School, GRUP SCOLAR ECONOMIC DE TURISM - IASI
Country: ROMANIA

The case presented here deals with the integration of a new student with a different cultural origin. This is quite common these days in many countries due to the fact that people move to other places in order to find a job. We might speak of similar situations in the case of Romanians who try to find a job in other countries and they have to take their children with them. But this is not a general rule.
In our country we have such cases, but the children do not come from another country. They come from very poor families or they are Romany (gypsies).

In our school we have such cases from time to time. Students coming from rural areas are sometimes untidy or are poorly dressed. The bullying situation appears when most of their classmates live in the city and have higher standards of living. There is a gap between these two categories all the time.

As far as this case is concerned, I think that Angela’s tutor should have talked to her mother in the first place. If Angela’s mother hadn’t come to school, the tutor should have talked to her on the phone or should have gone to Angela’s place of living. It was mother’s duty to take care of her daughter. The girl was not to be blamed. She didn’t know how to take care of herself. The measures suggested by the school counselor were correct but only after she had talked to Angela in private.

These discussions are very useful and efficient all the time. Students speak about their problems with a person they trust. In Angela’s case the girl didn’t have the possibility to talk to her mother as she was working all day long. She needed someone to talk to. That is why she tried to have a friend – the girl with Down syndrome, a student who in a way is like her: a disadvantaged person.

This case once more makes us aware of the fact that our students need advice and help from our part. It is very important to pay attention to the smallest details and to be ready to offer our support. They need it even if sometimes they refuse it. It is all about our pedagogical skills.

The measures suggested by the counselor were correct and could be helpful in any situation. A closer cooperation parents-teacher could have solved the problem more rapidly.

A psychologist could be invited in school to organize training for teachers in order to be able to cope with such situations.

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: Ian Thomson
Type of school: Catholic Secondary
Country: England

This is a poignant situation and hygiene problems occur a lot in our school.

Strategies we use are-
i) Contact the parents/guardians and explain the problem and encourage them to speak to their child.
ii) Use astaff member such as school chaplian/school nurse/form tutor to speak to the pupil in a discreet way.
iii) It is of paramount importance that any comments/bullying of this sort is dealt with quickly and stopped immediately. Although this is difficult the "popular" child in this scenario could have been asked to help the child and been given a discreet reward for doing so.

All matters of school violence should involve parents being contacted and the Head teacher's intervention if it is on a serious level. The school should have a 'whole school approach' towards matters involving violence and the pupils should be aware of the sanctions they face if such incidents occur.

Date: 09.03.2012

Posted by: Teresa Pérez del Valle
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

Indeed, I share the idea that the teacher Vanacore try to solve a case of bullying arising from a lack of hygiene and odor that entails, is one of the most difficult to treat. Sometimes, students are cruel to such cases no consideration which may be the reasons of the lack of hygiene. The teacher's work, as explained in the commentary to prof. Vanacore, is to safeguard the dignity and the best conditions for student learning in question is also true that there are cases where the student with poor hygiene is interviewed by a tutor, other teachers, the counselor ... and still does not change their behavior. In these extremes, it is difficult to control the reaction of colleagues who really have no odor and can continue their normal classes. In our center there has been a similar case with a student. I believe that arrived to such extremes as interesting would be to work with the group of the class the value of respect and empathy, interpreting it from all possible perspectives. In the case of the girl who says the prof. Vanacore consider this type of work values ​​in the group stalker can improve these behaviors.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Alfonso Vanacore
Type of school: Tecnical School
Country: Italia

The boys are often not able to mediate and are taking direct behaviors, though not predetermined, often result in actual bullying situations with great difficulty by the school to take action because they could not weighted, rather than solve, aggravate the situation.
The problem of bad smell is perhaps one of the most difficult cases to deal with, because while you can not force the boys to approach the other person, at the same time, we must safeguard the dignity and the best conditions for learning by the pupil in question. The "smell", often caused by bad hygiene, but it is sometimes due to other situations. We have had experiences of people who had problems with hygiene and cases where, although there are hygiene, the effect was similar. An emblematic case was that of a girl who had a sweating especially when the morning came very clean and fragrant, but after a couple of hours, the smell became uncomfortable, so nobody was available to be around and sometimes it was open window to change the air, even if the external temperature would have discouraged such an operation.
Compounding the situation we thought that one of her friends complained at a meeting of the bad smell that was in the class, creating embarrassment nell'interessata and a revolt by the other which, though contrary to discriminate against the girl, in fact they did avoiding to be around.
The family told us that the problem was due to skin type and a hormonal disorder aggravated by the growth and presented with respect to all health records and what they were doing to try to resolve the situation.
Following this experience, I fully understand the difficulties that the school has had to confront and handle the case, because in the example given to me, although the origins of the different cases and are not attributable to the will of the person, the attitudes on the part the others were similar. This has brought the girl to attend with some discomfort with difficulty in inserting the class, without which the school has managed to meet him in order to solve the case completely and permanently.

Date: 06.03.2012

Posted by: Pepa Mitkovska
Type of school: Vocational school
Country: Bulgaria

Here again the main problem is connected to isolation - in this case a girl with migratory background. In almost every class there is one such child. The reasons for excluding students are various. Many times the one who is put in isolation feels small and invisible. Some of the other students mock him, while others do not speak to him at all. In this particular case this girl with migratory background is mocked by and avoided by most of her class mates. The solutions by the school staff are semi-successful, but in general they manage to improve the situation of the girl.
I believe that in our school we could have similar cases. In my practice I have tried to solve such case through discussions and methods of convincing of the entire class and the child who is in the role of the bully. In more serious cases I have also asked for the help of the parents.
Recommendations:
1. A discussion between the students should be organized and they should become aware that there is no need for such conflicts in the class and that they should work together and help each other.
2. It is necessary that the parents are informed so that they can try to speak with their children.
3. Sometimes the bully should be punished in order to stop this activity.
4. In case that the conversations and discussions do not help, the bully should be taken to the school psychologist.
Training needs: I would be grateful for training courses on the topic of dealing with cases of violence.

Date: 05.03.2012

Posted by: Maramotti Loretta - Pancosta Barbara
Type of school: High School
Country: Italia

Closing in themselves by victims of bullying
Intervention by teachers, tutors and the school guidance counselor
Interventions in the classroom with experts on issues related to the case
Victims of bullying in the Spanish case the victim of bullying and 'foreign-born (Dominican Republic) while in our case none of the victims' of foreign origin.
In the Spanish case the parents did not notice the problem, whereas in our case we have an awareness of the problem by parents.
In Spain you would have found support from a professional psychologist could involve families and act as interface between the students and parents trying to talk to parents and children on one side and the other families with school .
From the Spanish case you can learn the importance and sensitivity of the presence of a tutor capable of picking up the problems of individual students.
It would be appropriate in the classes were held lectures on 'personal care to make students understand the importance of how to turn up in society so as to be accepted by others. It would also be desirable to train teachers through courses in sociology and psychology.
The teacher training is crucial to deal with any bullying events. It 'important that the Faculty Council is prepared
Required courses in teacher training would be appropriate to dedicate themselves to the issue of forms of bullying. Important is the presence of experts such as psychologists and sociologists that illustrate the strategies used by teachers to address issues related to bullying that might occur in the classroom.
It would also be appropriate in these meetings there was a confrontation with teachers who have already faced this kind of experience.
Important is to create a network among teachers who have experienced and overcome these problems and teachers who are involved in the same issue, so it would be appropriate for the classes that they live such a problem might confront students who managed to overcome this difficulty.
Our experience has taught us that the class action at all in law enforcement with the aim of illustrating the rules and the sanctions resulting from behaviors that violate the rules leads to a self-reflection and self-analysis following students on their inappropriate behavior resulting in behavioral improvement.
Therefore it would be good practice to include, however, an intervention of outside experts into the classroom to illustrate and clarify the rules on citizenship regardless of whether or not issues related to bullying in the classroom.

Date: 16.02.2012

Posted by: POULIA PAPADOPOULOU
Type of school: JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Country: GREECE


The approach of children from their parents is very different since in the case of Angela parents due to professional obligations fail to detect the integration and bullying problems facing their daughter at school and make some moves to step in and to help her. In the case of student X's mother first detected changes in the behavior of her son and her own continuous interventions helped the school to identify bullying case.


In the case of Angela was a long delay at school (teachers, the school director) to identify the issue of student bullying by classmates, although there were several indications. However, once recognized the problem the intervention of the counselor was the best way to deal with, because the intervention has improved the situation.


The cultural difference may be a cause of emergence aggressive behavior that may be related to the lack of a humanitarian type of education which highlights the importance of respecting the difference and not using it for exclusion and racist treatment against. The issue of hygiene was used as the main problem that led to the fact of bullying Angela may be treated differently in a case of a same nationality child. Angela actually expelled and it was not accepted easily and quickly mainly because of her national origin.
Also, that such problems of bullying by classmates of students affect the learning process of students-victims since the exclusion outside the classroom does not leave unaffected the student during the course.

The cooperation of all stakeholders, early identification of problem-bullying by teachers to be treated early and quickly is essential. In particular, regular updating and effective cooperation of the school with parents is considered necessary to prevent and deal effectively with cases of bullying of students.
Also the strategy of the group is very important and positive response to this case because from the result seem to act in a positive way to finally address this incident. With subtle but effective way of using the guidance in matters of hygiene so as not to bring in more difficult situation the student but to help her improve the health issue of giving her a role in group.
The training would help management intimidation initially would be good to focus on rapid identification of elements that may lead to intimidation. Identifying and recognizing where students could be due to specific characteristics become future victims to bullying prevention work and as fast as possible and anticipating future cases. Participation in educational programs, workshops, or through collaboration with school counselors will help to address such phenomena with a single and as efficiently as possible.

Date: 16.02.2012

Posted by: Machaira Anastasia -Christopoulos Panagiotis
Type of school: High School
Country: Greece

Studying this case of school violence, we found a lot of similarities to our case. In both cases the victimizers claimed that their motives were not racist and that the appearance and behavior of the victims were to blame for their violence. Despite this, feelings of superiority over the victims can be detected in both victimizers. This is an indication of their racist feelings.
Also in both cases, the parents of the students were not informed in time (or even at all). The children themselves did not confide in their teachers the problems they were facing due to their classmates. This made them feel lonelier, disappointed and with low self esteem.
There are though, quite a few differences in the way violence was dealt with in the two schools.
In the Greek school, the problem that occurred was dealt with by all the teachers and the principal as a whole. The school council met to find a common way to deal with the problem and then the principal took the responsibility to speak in person and separately to each student in order to reconcile them. This was partially effective, but not enough, since the victimizer did not harass the victim again, but it did not deter the other students from being violent to the victim.
In the Spanish school, the engagement and contribution of the school counselor was immediate. This helped the student to a point, but not enough. The way other teachers were informed about the incident and their contribution seems insufficient and there seems to be no personal contact with the victim.
We believe that, a handling of the situation that would combine both tactics of the two schools would be very affective.
As a first step towards facing school violence, we should monitor our students’ behavior more closely. Secondly we think that the teachers and the principal of the school should work together and inform each other in order to mention and comment on any suspicious behaviors. Then the teacher in charge of the class should discuss with the students causing or facing violence, and if an incident is serious, the school stuff should inform and discuss with their parents. Of course the contribution of a school counselor is very useful and that’s why we believe that his/her every day presence at school is necessary.
We finally believe that the level of teachers’ education on how to deal with school violence is insufficient. It is sure that our interest and care about our students are not enough. We would be better prepared to deal with violence if we could attend seminars on such subjects at school.


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