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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

First days of school - violence between students

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

The conflict took place two years ago, when the two schoolgirls were in the 9th grade.
J physically assaulted K in the first day of school, when the two girls were just beginning to know each other. The pupils were having their practical courses week. They were tired and tensed because they had been writing for two hours. They were talking loudly and one could barely understand what the professor was saying.
K called the girls who were making a lot of noise “geese”. J felt very offended by the name calling and at the end of the classes, she waited for schoolgirl K at the institution’s gate. There was an altercation during which the two girls used extremely harsh words, which led to physical contact consisting in pulling each other’s hair, pushing and fighting until they both started bleeding. One of the classmates, X, tried to separate them, and she eventually succeeded but with great difficulty. They were both very angry and did not want to quit the fight. They did not want to show that they were weak, but that they have strong personalities. They were both trying to claim supremacy and assume leadership.
The conflict was ended when the guardian arrived and the school principal was called.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

In order to put an end to such conflicts, the teachers carried out a number of preventive actions during which the form teachers discussed with the pupils, letting them express their opinions and find solutions to solve the problems they may have.
Also, the teachers organized discussion sessions with the parents in order to find the best solutions for preventing conflicts. The Council of Pupils came up with various methods of conflict and general violence prevention, namely: a better communication between pupils, between teachers and pupils or parents and children; discussing the social problems that occur in the case of some pupils and how to avoid their marginalization.
As far as the strategies for ending school violence are concerned, our school allocates a lot of resources in order to deal with it.
Here are some strategies elaborated by the Commission for preventing and eradicating school violence:
- the existence of a data base that contains the names of the pupils who do not respect the rules
- the existence of a data base containing the pupils whose parents are abroad or divorced
- nonattendance monitoring forms that must be filled in on a weekly basis
- maintaining an efficient communication with the parents through the form teachers
- securing the school’s perimeter by hiring guardians and installing surveillance cameras
- getting the pupils involved in many extracurricular educational activities and national and international partnerships
- voluntary work activities
- activities implemented by the “Impact 4 You” Club
- partnerships with NGOs, churches, the community police, the “Save the Children!” Organisation
- debates and round tables where the Students’ Council and the Parents’ Council discuss violence

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

This violent incident had without any doubt a negative impact on the two girls’ personas. The classmates became hesitant in approaching them, they were avoiding them, and at certain point the two girls were isolated from the rest of the class.
These were the first reactions that the schoolgirls noticed.
Later on, when the classmates understood that they must help the girls, their attitude changed.
This unpleasant episode made pupils understand that it is not easy to fit in when arriving to a new school, especially when the number of children in the class is very high (about 30-32 pupils).
The incident took a toll on the pupils’ grades too. They were more concerned with analysing their classmates, with capturing every gesture or comment made by a pupil, than with paying attention to classes or actively participating in them.
At their turn, the professors who had classes with those pupils had difficulties in trying to get the children involved in classes or in extracurricular activities.
With the help of the school’s psychologist, the pupils were no longer apathetic and suspicious towards their classmates. However, this process of recovery took a very long time.
The girls who were extremely shy or who were coming from the rural area were particularly affected by the incident. The feeling of fear was there during the breaks or when the classes were ending and they had to go home.
The incident also changed the attitude of the two girls involved in the conflict. They became friends and tried to forget what had happened.
The girls’ parents were influenced too; they had to come to terms with the fact that they do not know their children well enough and that they cannot always help them when they are in danger.
It was a tough lesson for everyone involved because this kind of violence is usually manifested by boys and not by girls.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

When the conflict occurred, both girls thought that they were in the right. None of them actually thought that the problem could have been handled in a different way. Both schoolgirls considered that they were victims and aggressors at the same time. They motivated their behaviour saying that at a certain point they saw themselves as potential victims and this is why they had to react and defend themselves.
One of the girls, K, told her mother about the incident. The girl’s mother came to school and presented the incident from the point of view of her daughter.
The other girl named J didn’t notify anyone because her mother was abroad at that time, leaving her alone for a long period of time, and her father did not have enough time to inquire about his daughter’s problems.
After a few weeks, the two schoolgirls apologised in front of the principal and admitted that the incident should not have taken place to begin with, because the reason for fighting was silly.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

Aggressive pupils usually choose their victims; the targeted children are the shy ones or, on the contrary, the ones who try to stand out by adopting a particular behaviour or by dressing a certain way – this type of behaviour irritates the aggressors who want to be acknowledged as leaders and trend setters.
The bullies do not feel guilty for their actions when they are facing a considerable number of persons (pupils or professors), but adopt a completely different attitude when discussing with a psychologist.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

The classmates split in two groups, each of them trying to motivate physical violence by using plausible arguments.
In the end, both parties admitted that the schoolgirls went too far and that the reason behind the fight was too silly.
The classmates reached the conclusion that they could have done something to put an end to the conflict sooner, had they known their classmates better. They did not imagine that the conflict would escalate to such an extent to the point where physical violence was involved.
When they finally became aware of the effects words have when expressed in anger, it was too late. They understood that it was crucial to act like a real team and offer help when one of them is dealing with a problem.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

The teachers get involved every time when a violent conflict occurs; such conflicts take place pretty often, during breaks or when classes end.
As long as the pupils are in school, they are constantly supervised by means of video cameras installed above the entrance doors and on the hallways on all floors. Also, during breaks, the professors who are in charge of supervising the floors keep an eye on the pupils in order to prevent the occurrence violent acts or incidents.
In this particular case, the incident took place after hours and outside the school’s perimeter. However, the guardian who is responsible of the school yard and of the school entrance stepped in quickly by notifying the school administration and the nearest police station.
After the incident, the form teacher presented the case within the Council of Professors and demanded that both girls have their conduct grades lowered because they were sharing the guilt.
Also, considering the fact that the analysed situation has a high degree of occurrence, a debate was organized with the entire classroom in order to find out the pupils’ opinion and to prevent such events from happening again. Other parties involved in the discussion were the teachers, the school’s principle, the school’s psychologist, and the police representatives.
The case was also discussed during the 9th grade Parents Meeting; thus, parents had the opportunity to express their opinions and come up with ideas or solutions.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

The school principals considered that the ones who witnessed the incident took action in a correct manner by notifying them and the police.
Also, the form teacher took all legal steps and collaborated with the pupils’ parents, asking for their opinion in order to solve the conflict.
However, the principals asked the policemen to pass by the school more often, especially at the beginning and at the end of classes. Violent acts can also be committed by persons who are not involved with the school and who spend their time around the school when the pupils are exiting the institution to return home.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

The schoolgirls’ parents were notified by the form teacher who asked them to come to school in order to discuss the incident with all the parties involved and with the school’s management. The only parent who came to school was K’s mother; in her opinion, the solely responsible for the incident was J and not her daughter. J’s parents did not honour the invitation, so the case was analysed from the point of view of pupil J only.
At the end of the meeting, K’s mother agreed with the actions taken by the form teacher and promised to be closer to her daughter so as to prevent future incidents.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

The psychologist is asked to discuss with the pupils every time such incidents occur. The specific methods used by psychologists and their openness make possible the settling of all conflicts and the reconciliation of all parties involved.
In our school, the psychologist is constantly communicating with the pupils, and the children who have problems related to school activity or at home are seeking counselling very often.
Also, there is a very strong collaboration between the psychologist and the rest of the teachers.
In this case, the psychologist’s intervention had a good influence on the parents and on the schoolgirls too.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

The police was called to solve the incident too but no legal action was taken against the two girls. There was a discussion and similar cases have been presented.
The school has a partnership with the police, planning periodical informational actions regarding cases of violence occurring in other schools from the city or from our country. Also, during these actions, the police presents plans of prevention, of finding solutions or of fighting against school violence.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

We have to stress the fact that such incidents are rare in our school; however, it does not mean that we do not take them seriously when they occur.
Every incident that happens, no matter how serious it is, is immediately submitted for discussion within our Discipline Commission and the Commission for Preventing School Violence.
Also, both teachers and principals organise many extracurricular activities where more and more pupils are involved, especially the ones who are impulsive or aggressive.
The results are not always the expected ones, but our efforts are continuing.

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 06.05.2012

Posted by: MARIJA ASTRAUSKIENĖ
Type of school: Youth school
Country: LITHUANIA

* In our school we experience similar cases as we have students with difficulties to behave. A conflict may be caused by simple things: „what are you looking at?“, „did not like because he boasts“, „he/she is new“, „this is my desk“. Sometimes verbal conflicts evolve into physical fights. We are also paying attention to fights we are aware of which take place outside school, as they might be spotted by other students. Inappropriate behavior is discussed in “Child welfare committee” (preventative group), where we look into the situation from both the victims and violators perspective, we encourage students to look for the compromise. In preventative meetings are often visited by local police representatives who work with minors. School is also equipped with security cameras which are used with the help of on-duty teachers and administrators thus helping to create a safe environment.
* School has a student council, unfortunately they cannot be included into the bullying problem solving, as they do not have enough authority among other students, they do not have a strong opinion, but we are looking forward including the student council into these activities. For this moment our course of action is to encourage bullying witnesses not to support the offenders, but rather stop them. It is hard to stop bullying if the offenders have conduct disorders, increased impulsivity is anti-social. Such child behavior is inconsistent, they usually need intensive psychological counseling sometimes even medication. It is really important to discuss the bullying action with the victim, offender and witnesses, involve parents and teachers. We use the “Peace carpet” which was prepared by all students. Conflicting sides cannot walk off the carpet until they settle the argument aside and make peace. In this way students are encouraged to solve their problems.
* I am a specialist, so I provide help on my own. We receive help from the teachers, administration, other specialists in our school, if needed we are visited by local police representative.
* Effective school authority response and partiallity for the student relations outside the school.
Recommendations:
- Peace carpet
- Conversations, alternative behavior discussion with students. They are encouraged to speak to teachers or specialists at school if they are experiencing bullying.
- Teacher watch during brakes at school.
* For this moment, the school is participating in Olweus programmer so we have enough of training. It would be useful to receive consultation for solutions in hard cases of bullying at schools.

Date: 25.03.2012

Posted by: Emilia Yordanova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

According to me and the other colleagues, the school in question took adequate actions to solve the problem. The institutions rely heavily on preventive measures to stop bullying from escalation. The only remark would be to concentrate on more extracurricular activities and less on police measures, such as databases which would ultimately diminish the overall freedom and impose authoritarian rules, which could be unacceptable for the students and which could trigger revolting actions on their behalf.
On the other hand the involvement of police, which is a practice extremely rarely used in our school system, but which is gaining popularity in the last one or two years, could and would have educative effects, because potential and active bullies would receive a clear idea that their acts are punishable and that their age would not be protective in all and any case of misbehavior.

Date: 15.03.2012

Posted by: Konstantinos H. Giannopoulos, Demetrios Kalyvas
Type of school: GYMNASIUM OF CHALANDRITSA
Country: Greece

Although the main direction in which we should focus it is to prevent such violent conflicts drawing general strategies for preventing them, always there will be cases where the school community should react and face individual episodes.
Each case is unique and has its own causes, so it is important to find out the reasons. In order to achieve that, we need:
• very good cooperation between school staff and the parents.
• great patience to discover the deeper causes that led to that involvement.
• enough experience of the teachers in respond to such incidents.
• teachers have to listen to the opinions of these students involved and those not involved.
• keep an eye on students during breaks, entry and departure from school.
For this episode, the game of team leadership seems to be the main cause of the conflict. assisted by the fact that the student behavior was not known as it was the first day of school and the large number of students in the classroom - the more students the more audience the more power.
It is true that cases like that are more common among boys than girls. In my country the corresponding case would be treated within the school between teachers, students, parents and the school director.
The lack of support from their peers, shows that involved were not leaders of a student group.
In the most cases teachers are those who first intervene after such incidents, and although they are not so experts as councellors are, have to do the first acts, so they must be properly prepared.
It is good that there was a councellor available in that case. In my country councellors are very rare.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Elisabetta Solinas
Type of school: Tecnical School
Country: Italia

Bullying is much more frequently male, more direct and well stated. Indeed it often happens that children can get to the hands for trivial reasons or no importance. The girls are rather famous for the many rumors that are able to get around or for indirect and direct the many humiliations that are able to impose on friends. It (the female bullying) is a phenomenon more psychological than physical, it speaks of Indirect Bullying: commenting, putting in a bad light, speaking ill behind, the girl victim is degraded to the second level.
The example of bullying reported in the website and I chose to be commented, however, is becoming increasingly common and frequent in our schools, this means that happens to hear of girls beaten by other girls. Given that such incidents have become more frequent, we should not underestimate this phenomenology. In my personal experience there are incidents of this type, but you still have verified the facts that in my school community. Sometimes the phenomenon of bullying is incomprehensibly underestimate even when it is a manifestation of a real social malaise is just for those who commit the harm to those who suffer: the first as at risk of anti-social problems and deviant, in the second they risk excessive insecurity character that can lead to depressive symptoms also. The case of bullying that I have chosen to deal with is a typical case of direct bullying: namely, that whole series of behaviors that use physical force to harm another (you can list in this category behaviors like hitting, pushing, dropping, steal or damage property objects, etc..).
To counter this we have used the resource of education, ie a strategy that relies on a direct relationship between real people, between people who speak, involved, who have a dialogue with the boy, giving examples, which also stimulate to have other interests. This is to arouse interest in boys, is another way to prevent bullying. Although not all young people have the same preferences, you must groped. Working with tenacity and commitment we have produced results. You can then create interest through cultural activities that can involve more than other boys. You can think of and make a lot of group work, many activities that have the value of prevention to create a collaborative environment among the boys in the class, in school, which is the environment for excellence in fostering cultural interests of such different and in fostering the growth of young people (eg the theater). The most useful training for teachers, in my opinion, would be based on experiences of other colleagues in other schools and other social realities, in order to compare the strategies and thus find the most effective remedies.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Giovanni Antonio Addis
Type of school: Tecnical School
Country: Italia

Even our school and there were similar cases arise, boys and girls to resolve misunderstandings, they decide to go to blows. In some cases takes place inside the school, but often out after the end of the school, probably because they feel that there are interventions by the school staff, or that did not become aware of the leadership and the resulting sanctions . The reasons are almost always futile: misunderstandings, issues of "heart", etc..
Once aware of the episodes, as well as those that occurred inside and those outside, where they are involved pupils in the school, it intervenes in the first instance to understand the reasons behind what happened and then to take action towards those has acted improperly.
After the teachers of the affected class or classes, we try to involve families, but even there we are not together.
Study as if you steal away many parents, intervening only when the school informs them that the child will be penalized (suspended from work) for what he did; other parents tend to embrace the reasons for your son trying to justify the action, highlighting As is often the same family that minimizes the seriousness in education. In the latter case, unfortunately, not uncommon for our reality, we understand that the cause of the behavior comes from educational problems, and has difficulty in accepting the punishment administered to the same family of his son.
The school regularly organizes interventions aimed at prevention and awareness education in law, civil coexistence and tolerance involving teachers from all disciplines that provide for the development in their program concepts designed to make it clear to students what is wrong and condemn all acts of violence and who uses them, for whatever reason you do it, does not behave in socially acceptable ways.
Moreover, the regulation provides heavy penalties for those who institute COMPI such gestures.
Since this is not an isolated case but something that occurs, although in different ways, with some frequency, would need to be able to regain the full significance of what is good and what is not so as to make it clear that even If you are convinced to be in reason, can not quite think of their own justice, but it is for the regular school setting all relationships between all components of the school and possibly punish the faults with conscience and equity.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Reyes Holgado Sánchez
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

In our center, no more than twenty days two sixth-graders stuck after school. In this case may be more common for boys and girls were as in the case study. Soon some friends came to tell us what was happening. When you get there one of them was gone and the other claimed that he had been slapped.
As we do not allow any kind of aggression in our tutor made me call her and I as head of studies began to ask what had happened. Both students are somewhat conflicting and in more than one occasion have participated in similar activities but never had fought among themselves.
The cause was some comments made in Twenty yesterday. Both strive to be leaders of the group and gain the friendship of the girls in the class.
At first there was talk with them about what happened, the causes and consequences. They both knew that there had been good but none admitted to having been the first to start the dispute.
He spoke with the parents for the umpteenth time about the dangers of networks. On the importance of knowing where they get their children and explained that to have an account at Twenty have needed 14 years and that if they allowed this were already acting in an inappropriate manner. While a father seemed to understand, the mother of another did not seem that he cared, cared only that his son was not open a file for aggression (as it was not the first). Two students opened their case and were punished without going to the next excursion. In those cases where students are repeat offenders, punishment serves only to keep a little constrained for weeks and then return to the same. Perhaps the teachers do not have the necessary training to work with these students. And if families do not cooperate we have nothing to do.
Our main strategy for solving these cases is the investigation of the reasons why it happens. Put the students into the role of the other and make him see how he feels. The next important point is that in our center we have the cooperation of the staff of coexistence. And the third factor is the parents we always maintain a close relationship.
In this case we see that those reasons begin with some words on the net and not having accaso to it can not be sure of what they say.
As I said before sometimes we need experience to solve these cases until recently just saw them in high school and are now spreading to primary. Often teachers do not want to see and excuse themselves by saying they are childish things but we must be alert because this is where disputes always cominzan then lead to behavior most difficult to eradicate.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Mariola Morillo Pareja
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

There is always a case in which an unfortunate comment is extrapolated to class after school and becomes a major problem.
In our educational system we have not surveillance cameras do not call the police, in our center we have not had the need.
As a teacher would have found the main support in the educational and living classroom, they work in the tutorials so as to see that violence leads nowhere and make the new student feel more integrated.
In this case i can learn that it is important to anticipate the arrival of a new student to class and as fit in the group.
I would recommend:
1. Work the value of the reception for the new students feel and peers also feel they can help you join the group.
2. When in class you see a tense situation between several students get them to talk and resolve their differences before they leave the center to avoid greater evils.
It is important to work co-education and values ​​education to improve these aspects.

Date: 04.03.2012

Posted by: S Todd
Type of school: 11-16 mixed
Country: England

I was pleased to see how sensitively this incident was handled. It is indeed ironic that the two girls became friends but not, I suspect, unusual.

In my school this kind of incident would have been dealt with by the Form Tutor or Head of Year. I would evisage a simolar process of discussion, finding alternative ways of behaving and ultimately apologising to each other. Note would also be made of the lack of support in one family and this would be filed for future reference.

The post fight impact would be similar in his country. The girls would feel isolated as other children endeavoured to keep their distance. A good Form Tutor would deal with this through Circle Time in PSE lessons.

I was surprised to see that the Principal was involved. At my school this kind of incident would be dealt with at a much less senior level. My Headteacher would be confident in the ability of his staff to resolve this kind of issue quickly and effectively.

It is interesting to note that the school has a psychologist. ED. Psychs. are extremely rare in my authority. I don't seen one above four times in twenty years of teaching!

I would suggest that the teaching staff get themselves out of classrooms at the end of the day and supervise the children as they leave the school building. In my country they are our responsibility until they can be reasonably expected to get home. If staff had been present this incident might not have happened.

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