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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

A case of violence described by Secondary school „Sava Dobroplodni”, Shumen

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

The event started during the summer and via Facebook.
The main actors involved are four girls – two from grade eight – A and B – and two from grade six – C and D. Non-directly a boy whom we will call E is also involved.
Type of bullying actions carried out – one girl from the eighth grade from a neighboring school – A – was called for a conversation behind the postal office after classes and was physically bullied (hit) by a girl from the eighth grade from our school – B. B also took away A’s mobile phone SIM card.
Time period – this specific event took place on 16.09.2011 between 13,00 and 13,20 o’clock.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

The reaction of school management and team after they got informed about the bullying event was to call the girls and their parents. The entire story was presented to all sides in it. The school management will be punishing the bullies at pedagogic council for exerted violence. The pedagogic adviser had a very long discussion with A, B, C and D and invited them for follow up discussions in case they have any questions.
The cooperation received from the entire teaching team and from the school directors took the form of getting the entire school staff engaged with this case and involved in meeting the girls and their families and finding a resolution in benefit to all sides.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

The described case has an interesting influence on the different sides involved and covers a network of parties from more than one school. We cannot speak about serious troubles as far as the educational process is concerned, because the reaction of the school managements and the teacher staff there are quite adequate, well organized and effective.
There are no long-term effects on the students’ motivation. The victimized girl regains her calmness and security, because she receives support from her family and the school management. The girls who have instigated the situation are in a much more difficult situation, especially B who will be proposed for punishment at school council.
The achievements of the victim will not suffer. The work with psychologists will most probably influence positively also the achievements of the bully girls.
Intra-school integration is not threatened in neither school.
The undertaken activities on behalf of the two school managements and the teachers there are focused on reestablishing the balance between rights and responsibilities of the students – in order for them to receive the so needed for their future development knowledge and skills, the students should observe certain rules of conduct.
The classmates of the victim and the bullies had no idea what was happening to the girls and we cannot consider any particular negative effect on their performance or motivation. We could however imagine that raising the issue of school violence and the dangerous deceptions, which using social networks and new means of communication could lead to, would influence positively the formation of a correct opinion and attitude towards this issue on their behalf.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

The perception of the causes of the bullying event from the point of view of A: “I am E’s ex-girlfriend. Now C wants to become his girlfriend. I do not know B and I have never done anything to her. I have no idea why she was the one torturing me. Taking away my mobile phone SIM card was also very bad!”
Being asked if she informed anybody, A responded “Yes, I shared with my mother that C is writing insulting comments on my facebook page and through skype as well. Somehow she managed to get my contact details. I have not given them to her, because we hadn’t seen each other in real life. After the beating I went home right away and I told everything. My mother took me to the doctor and called the school to the pedagogic adviser for help.”
When asked what help she needed and from whom, A responded: “I need protection from the side of my family and I need the chance for a conversation with C with the help and intermediation of my mother and the pedagogic adviser.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

When the bully B was asked about her motivation for the bad things she did to A, she responded: “My friend from sixth grade wants to become E’s new girlfriend. A wrote some facebook statuses, which C considered were related to her. C shared this with me at school and I immediately agreed that A is trying to split C and E and that she should get a punishment for this, for example a beating. I took action because my friend asked me to do something about this.”
When asked if she has any regrets, B responded: “I shouldn’t have hit her. I shouldn’t have stolen her phone SIM card. It turned out that she had not been writing about C. There was a big misunderstanding. I got in trouble because of this. I was summoned again in the teaching room. My class form-master will propose me for a punishment.”

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

When asked if they were aware about what was happening, the other students responded that they had no clue and they did not know where B, C and D were heading after the classes.
The cause of the bullying event according to the other students, who were obviously not direct witnesses of the happening, is B’s character. They say that she is a bit aggressive and sometimes starts a fight or argument because of minor, unimportant reasons.
When asked what they did and why, the other students responded that they did absolutely nothing. They simply left for their homes after classes. They had no idea about what was happening, so they did not know that there was some trouble to take into account or react to.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

When asked about their awareness of the aggressive situation, the teachers responded that they had no idea what was happening and where B, C and D were heading after the classes. During the summer the children have too much free time, during which they are not under control. They are not able to behave properly among each other and maintain good relationships. The strong emotions of falling in love confuse their minds. They do not know how to react.
The teachers shared that they managed to understand about what was happening from the pedagogic adviser.
Their reaction after they got informed was to call the girls and their parents. We told everything to everyone. We will be punishing the bullies at pedagogic council for exerted violence. The pedagogic adviser had a very long discussion with A, B, C and D and invited them for follow up discussions in case they have any questions.
The cooperation received from the other teachers and from the school directors took the form of getting all of them engaged with this case and involved in meeting the girls and their families.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

When approached, the school director informed that her awareness of what was happening is mainly related to the fact that the children grow, develop, encounter new feelings and emotions and sometimes have no idea how to respond to the latter.
The headmaster shared that she addressed the episode by means of conducting discussions with the head-teachers, the involved girls and their parents. She initiated a pedagogic council, which will issue a punishment decision.
When asked about her opinion about what is needed to ameliorate the situation, she responded that the children need to communicate more intensely with their parents, to abandon the illusion that they can insult someone via electronic tools and not be punished for this, and to understand that violence cannot solve problems. The children need to get involved in extra-curricular activities supporting their development.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

When asked if they noticed what was happening, only A’s mother responded positively. She knew from her daughter about the insulting publications in Facebook and skype. B’s family had no idea about the situation. They did not notice how their daughter was insulting the other girl through the Internet.
When asked if they got informed and by who, only А/’s mother confirmed that she got information from her daughter.
When asked if they had the possibility to modify the situation and in what way, A’s parents respond that they could have probably done something, but they were too busy during that time. Besides they were not expecting B to react in other way. The other girls’ parents had no idea about the events and could not have reacted or prevented them.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

When asked if she was aware about the situation and if she had done anything to prevent it, the counselor responded that she had no information about the progression of the event. The relationships become hostile during the vacation when the children are away from school.
When asked what she would have done if she was aware, the counselor responded: “if I had known about the Facebook and skype fight I would have invited C for a conversation, through which I would have tried to understand what is causing these strong emotions, whom the change of situation would depend on and how we all could react. I would have spoken to her parents. If I had known about B’s intention to beat the unknown girl, because her friend thinks that she has a problem with A, I would have invited her for a conversation with the purpose to help her understand the real situation and her place in it. I would have invited her parents for a discussion.”
When asked how she would improve communication and cooperation she responded that she would do it via discussion and inclusion of the families of the children (B, C and D). She also confirmed she would stay in close contact with the pedagogic adviser from the neighborhood school. She would also provide more information to all parents about the age-specifics of their children and the dangers carried by uncontrollable use of electronic communication tools.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

The main party who makes a decision for actions in this particular case is the pedagogic advisor of the victimized girl. He takes adequate measures by getting in contact with the management of the school of the other girls and their parents. He also undertook an initiative for follow up discussions with all children, which is a substantial factor or effective intervention.
The negligence in this case comes from the lack of preliminary knowledge about the problem on behalf of the teachers and the headmaster of girls B, C and D school. The decision for punishment of the bully B should be preceded by actions for clarification of the reasons of her aggressive behavior. As all sides pointed out, the children are going through a period of emotional growth and an inadequate punishment of the bully-girl, which could be considered as a victim from other factors’ perspective, could only lead to further behavioral problems on her behalf.
It is necessary for regular meetings with the students’ parents for their more active involvement in the social and school life of their children to be achieved. It is also necessary that they are stimulated to think about and talk to their children about their life in the cyber space, which quite often turns into an arena of violence, which parents and teachers cannot assume and are not aware of until it is too late. Most importantly, understanding of the fact that the bully is often a victim from another aspect is necessary, and he or she needs help and adequate support and not punishment or further isolation.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

The main causes of the event and the mechanism that allowed the phenomenon are the underdeveloped social skills of the young people; business of their parents with numerous engagements and failing communication with their children; children from incomplete families, trying to compensate the lack of a parent with the first other human being who tells them that he/she is their friend and shares their point of view. A major cause is also the copying of media models.

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 18.04.2012

Posted by: BREBULEŢ SILVIU DANIEL
Type of school: C.J.R.A.E. VRANCEA
Country: ROMANIA

The presented case study has the characteristic elements of the age group that seem to be independent of the socio-cultural climate, being present in Romania as well.
In such a situation, the first, and best placed institution to change the behaviour of the pupils involved in the incident is the family. The parents are without doubt the only ones that can change something, if they want it. Of course, it is possible that the pupil’s aggressiveness is not only tolerated, but promoted implicitly or explicitly by the parents, case in which any educational attempt of the school or any other institution is doomed. most
Therefore, when such situations arise in the schools where I am involved, my first reaction is to ensure the family support in the educational efforts the school is going to take. Having the parents on the school’s side is the first source of information and the first benchmark regarding the objectives we want to reach. In practice, in my school, the strategy to fight against bullying is focused on pupils’ groups counselling (cause-consequences, anger and reactions self-management etc), presenting of good practices, involvement of pupils in extra-curricular activities, self-control being a personality trait that can be learned and educated formally and informally, individual counselling of pupils etc.
Regarding the strategies of fighting against school bullying mentioned in the case study, I have big doubts concerning the efficiency, utility and even their organisational and development paradigm: if the vision on psychological intervention is described by the quote “the school management has decided that the punishment is pedagogical counselling against violence”, It is my belief that this model cannot be used by all schools is Romania.
Through my job, I benefited from professional trainings regarding prevention of school violence. From my point of view, the trainings of didactic staff should be optimised by making the central element of it being family collaboration, this being the only aspect that could diminish the phenomena of bullying. From my point of view, parents’ participation on parental education programmes is more important that training of didactic staff. The Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport should get involved in organising and implementing such programmes.

Date: 30.03.2012

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

According to our perception, the situations described do not correspond to the definition of « bullying » that has been made clear during one of the meetings. The acts are not recurrent, they occur during a short period and in some situations, they do not targer a single person.
Anyway, this situation shows main violent events which require interventions.

Common elements:
We regularly meet similar situations (settling of scores through ICT) and, most of the time, between girls. Situations in which anger and jaleousy induce rumors, violences…
The cases whe have faced so far target a single victim and never a group of teenagers as described in one of the analyzed situations.
We notice that the adults play their role. It seems that the whole educative team was willing to collaborate. That way, the problem seems easier to solve.
As far as our service is concerned, we are called when some other solutions have already been tried without success, either by the parents who had already contacted the school, or by the headmaster’s office that had already tried an approach.

Brief description of the Bulgarian device as shown through the situations :
Meeting with all the parties (heamster’s office, teachers, psycho-medico-social centres, victims and bullies, parents). A great attention is paid to the listening to each protagonist’s point of view, then individualized follow-up, and finally proposals for reparation, for reflexion, for solutions profitalbe for all parties and sanctions if recurrence. Sometimes
It seems that the culture of conflict management is well established. It seems that the open discussion between the parties already calms people down.
Maybe the conclusions focus too much the fault on just a part of the problematic. Example : ICT, the parents who don’t supervise, the parents who work abroad, the political and economical conditions, the teenagers’ non-participation to extra-school activities. Hence the importance of the work to be done upstream, on the theme of « living well together ».

Date: 30.03.2012

Posted by: Philippe Lehette
Type of school: Secondary School
Country: Belgium

ADDITIONNAL COMMENT : law article -

« When it can be proved that a person external to the school commits serious facts related to the article 25 (1st paragraph), with instigation or complicity of a student of the school, this one is considered as the perpetrator of an action injuring the physical, psychological or moral integrity of a staff member or a pupil, or compromising the organization/functioning of a school, and this can justify the definitive exclusion foreseen by the articles 81 and 89 of the aforesaid decree of the 24th July 1997 »

Date: 27.03.2012

Posted by: Philippe Lehette
Type of school: Secondary School
Country: Belgium

Comparisons :

The difficulty here is that the conflict seems to have occured first online, especially on facebook, that the pupils come from 2 different schools, and that the victim, her bully and her accomplice did not know each other, since this last one has acted instead of her fellow.
Here, we realize that the event comes from a misunderstanding, as it can happen in cases of bullying. To fight that, it is important that the children are educatied to tolerance and that they don’t feel concerned by comments which are not addressed to them. However that is not easy because teenagers are not very self-confident sometimes and they take others’ comments very badly.
It is clear here that the main victim’s support was first her parents. The parents should have informed both schools headmaster’s offices, their girl’s one and the bully’s one.
I think that in Belgium this bullying case would be juridically difficult to deal with by the school because it occurred outside of the school, between two pupils from different schools. So it seems difficult for the headmaster’s offices to legally impose the sanctions. So the article 26 of the decree of the 30th June 1998 aiming to ensure all the pupils equal opportunities for social development, especially for the implementation of positive discriminations specifies :
« When it can be proved that a person external to the school commits serious facts related to the article 25 (1st paragraph), with instigation or complicity of a student of the school, this one is considered as the perpetrator of an action injuring the physical, psychological or moral integrity of a staff member or a pupil, or compromising the organization/functioning of a school, and this can justify the definitive exclusion foreseen by the articles 81 and 89 of the aforesaid decree of the 24th July 1997 »
The pupil victim does not study in the same school as her bully and her accomplice.
According to me, a disciplinary sanction seems dangerous mainly because we don’t know if the parents agree with a decision that could be a definitive suspension.
From a legal point of view, the victim’s family could have used the online publications to sue the bully’s parents, and that put this action outside the school framework.
In other words, in Belgium and in this type of siutation, the only way to act for the schools is, according to me, to educate and to take prevention action, regarding this type of events, together with the educative teams.

Recommendations :
Apart from that, the article fore mentioned seems to be a good legal and « prenventive » basis in order to make the pupils and their parents aware of the fact that they can not aggress, with impunity, a pupil of their own school or ask someone else to act for them, without being at risk to be suspended.

Relevance of teacher's training to cope with bullying event :
Obviously, the teachers don’t benefit from a legal training to deal with this type of problem. I also think that the school headmasters are not necessarily trained that way and that they only learn to deal with the problem, with the school authorities, when it occurs
It is maybe the educative counsellors who should have enough legal knowledge and keep the school staff members informed.

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.

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