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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

Offensive content message sent to 8 friends

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

Bullying event took place in March 1st, 2011. The girl named Gabi (12 years) in the evening around 9 pm composed an offensive content message and sent it with her mobile phone to 8 of her friends. In the end of the message she asked to spread this message among their friends.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

Discussions with the students and parents.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

Students acknowledged the impact of their behaviour to the lives of people, to their psychological wellbeing. Bullying participants apologised to one another and started the next step in their relationships, in which less rivalry and concurrence and more compassion would be involved.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

The victim of this bullying event was a girl named Elle. She received that offensive message from her friend and showed it to her mother, which suggested to go straight to schools’ counsellor office. Elle did as her mother suggested: the next morning went to see the counsellor and asked to her to look into this situation. During the conversation the girl felt hurt and upset. She thinks that this message was written because of the jealousy that she receives more attention from some girlfriends than the girl who wrote it.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

The bully student Gabi felt rejected and received less attention from her girlfriends, so she decided to hurt and get back at her. Egle was a little older than Gabi; she just started her first year in the school, because she came from the suburbs. Although Elge was a new girl in the school, she soon became friends with a lot of students, tried to be a leader and that really displeased Gabi. During the discussion with the counsellor Gabi felt embarrassed, she regretted her actions. And just after the discussion she realised the reaction and outcomes of her actions.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

Some students forwarded the message to their friends. Some of the kids didn’t react to it. One girl forwarded the message to Egle. The next morning children discussed, talked about the content of the message, showed it to the ones, that didn’t receive it. Students didn’t see anything bad about the message, but asked whether they would like this kind of message to be written and sent to their friends about them, they all agreed to the negative answer. Students realised that such message would hurt their feelings, would humiliate them and they would feel miserable among their peers. Children who were close to the girls new about their terms, intrigues and disagreements.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

The teachers didn’t have any information regarding described bullying event, because the girl went straight to the counsellor. Regarding the students that were involved in the event, the form tutors some part of the students named as good behaving ones and they didn’t expect this kind of behaving from them. Tutors knew about the terms and intrigues among the girls, but didn’t have information what provoked this event. After they were informed, teachers discussed with all their students about this event and the consequences, possible punishments.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

In this particular case school managers and principal office was not informed.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

The victim’s mother became aware of the situation when her daughter showed her the received message and encouraged her daughter to talk to counsellor about it. The next morning Egle’s mother called and asked to sort out the situation.
The parents of Gabi learned about this event from the letter that their daughter brought home after school. In the letter was short description of her actions and the invitation to come to school to talk about the situation. The father came to school the next morning; Gabi had already read the message and explained everything to him. Her father was confused and worried for his daughter. During the discussion with his daughter and counsellor the father emphasised that the mobile phone was bought to her for her parents to contact her any time and not to use it for wrong purposes.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

The counsellor talked with the victim of bullying, tried to reason why did it happen. Also there were discussion with the bully girl and other students who forwarded the message, discussed this situation with tutors and parents.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

There should be a closer communication between school and parents. Parents should not stand aside their children education and should raise them as active members of their life: constantly follow their progress in school, their opinions and feelings, also their behaviour, etc. Students should take practical seminars, meetings where they could improve their communications, decision making and conflict management skills.

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 11.05.2012

Posted by: LEILA SLIMANI - criminologist
Type of school: YOUTH'S RIGHTS SERVICE AMO
Country: Belgium

After reading the stated text, I'm not sure that we can qualify the facts disclosed as bullying. It is in my opinion a violence which occurs on a quite short period of time, and which can be an indicator, or a primary fact of bullying.
However, I can understand that the repetition of the act by other students on a short time, and the consequences on the victim, can make some people want to associate this behaviour to bullying.

In the situation presented, the girl has been able to speak directly of his difficulty with her mother. She has a family relationship which gives her the chance to engage on facts that are difficult to live.
The mother then advised her daughter to visit her school counsellor to expose the problem. The mother seems to trust the school in the management of the problems which are faced by her daughter in the school (direct or not).
We must also emphasize the importance of having, within a school, a person who really listens to students, with which the young can feel free to speak, regardless of whether he is a teacher, educator, or anyone else in the school.

I must again stress that the causes of the conflict were investigated and updated, which apparently allowed professionals to start a process of reflection and questioning on concrete bases.

A letter was also sent directly to parents of the bully. This reaction of the school shows that it has the desire to involve the family, and, therefore, to link the reaction of the school, in relation to behaviours related to it, with some parental authority.

Date: 14.03.2012

Posted by: BOIŢĂ RAMONA GEORGIANA
Type of school: V.MADGEARU High School IASI
Country: ROMANIA

The common element of both situations was the exaggerated need of some students to get the attention of the others by any means necessary.

In the case of the Lithuanian school, the cultural differences lead to a conflict, seemingly of little importance, without grave repercussions on the psyche of a certain student, who was isolated by all of the school’s students. Considering the way of sending the offensive message, it was rapidly discovered, altering the relationships between students and their families.

In such cases, where the technological system is used to verbally offend, the people most prepared to intervene are: the school administration, the teachers but not only. Obviously I would have confidently asked for help from one of the mentioned people.

After each conflict, the school learns that they must be on top when other similar situations appear and that each problem which needs solutions will aid the teachers in solving the next conflict. Any of the teachers in the school can offer to help students who find themselves in a conflict, and they do so through an open attitude towards everyone, so as to assure every student that they can find the support and help they need anytime.

Efficient strategies can be those which establish from the beginning the reason/reasons for the dispute, but also those that address the initial state as well as the resulting one. Debating/discussing with the involved parties together with a specialist (counselor, school psychologist) could lead to eradicating these unpleasant situations. Also, an IT specialist could talk about the dangers that hide behind this opportunity : mass-media, taking into account the varied ways of spreading information in today’s world.

The strategies used by the school counselor, helped by the families, lead to a quick solution and efficient solution for the case. This is why I consider them useful, but also suited for our school as well.

YES, I have participated in training courses in the “House of Efficient communication Strategies of the Teacher Body” which discussed the problems of internet usage and the role it might have among students, either with positive and efficient results or negative consequences, in which case the situation must be dealt with and eliminated through pedagogic tact and specialized help. I think that a training program must stem from the reality that surrounds us and then talk about ways of implementing the best methods of solving conflicts in the classroom

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: MARTINE PRIGNON
Type of school: AEDE - European association of teachers
Country: Belgium

BULLYING EXISTS
The question can be asked because there is only one event described, an offensive sms sent to the victim. On request of the bully pupil, this sms has passed through a group of followers before reaching its target.
However, we know that the relationships between both girls are difficult (rivalry, competition, fight for the power). The bully is jealous of the victim because this one has a lot of friends in the class when she is rejected.
It seems it is more an unsolved conflict than systematic bullying.
RESPONSE BROUGHT BY THE SCHOOL
It seems the school has managed the incident in a constructive and educative way by:
• taking immediately the shocked and upset victim into account, as well as the bully
• analyzing the event with both parties. This has allowed the bully’s realization and the reparation (excuses and promises for more respectful relationships)
• contacting the parents (information and meeting with the bully’s parents)
the teachers and the educators’ intervention in the class to make the following pupils
• realize that the content of this message was offensive
However, the card does not specify:
• if these measures have allowed to avoid any subsequent event and to limit the negative impact of the bullying event by the victim?
• if a watchful following has been set up, because bullying is not ordinary violence?

• if the considered sanctions have really been imposed?

RECOMMANDATIONS
A psychological support could have been proposed to the victim. The description does not mention it.
What was the real bully’s empathy towards the victim? Working on that would have been interesting.
A work on the “group dynamic” carried out by external psycho-social workers could have been undertaken with this class in addition to the intervention of the educative team.
The headmaster could have been informed and he could have intervened in the class, after the teachers, to make an example, to remind the pupils of the school rules (right to well-being and safety for everyone).
PREVENTION MEASURES
The pupils’ social skill have to be improved as the conclusion of the card underlines.
It would be useful to organize information sessions in the classes, with professionals, on the respect of the others, self-esteem, communication, conflict management.
When a conflict occurs, the pupils must be able to solve it in a constructive and respectful way.

Date: 26.02.2012

Posted by: D. Musson
Type of school: 11-16 Comprehensive
Country: UK

In the UK, cyber bullying of this type is unfortunately fairly common. Using social networking sites or mobile phones to send insulting or threatening messages has become almost commonplace. Press attention on specific cases where young people have committed suicide due to cyber bullying has been widely reported and is something as a school we are very aware of. Regularly, in school we received phone calls from concerned parents or students themselves who brought to our attention instances of cyber bullying. The perpetrators and the victims were normally girls. Friendship groups and appearance being the root causes of the actions as in this case. More often than not the students who carried out the bullying were contrite, as in this case. It appeared to staff that they had not fully understood the consequences of their actions. They were prepared to write things that they would never say to each other face to face.
We as a school have found our main support, as in this case, has come from the bully’s parents. We use a standard letter inviting the parents in to school and asking them if they are aware of how their child is using either their mobile phone or the Internet. Again, as in the case, we find this to be extremely useful as it makes the bully realise the consequences of his/her actions.
We also have invited the Police in to deliver assemblies to Year groups explaining how this type of cyber bullying is an offence and the person responsible for this could have a criminal record stopping them from working in specific occupations.
Our ICT Department also spend part of their curriculum time using resources from CEOP, and explain how you can report online abuse on the various social networking sites (using the REPORT ABUSE button).
In PSHE time is spent discussing this and students are encouraged to debate the consequences of cyber bullying
Our Home/School agreement clearly states:
“Remember always, treat others as you wish to be treated; there are real people viewing what you send so always be polite and do not use offensive or abusive language. We will not tolerate abuse of any kind which may cause offence to others – nor will we tolerate any kind of discrimination.

The following are not permitted:

* Sending, displaying, sharing or downloading offensive messages or pictures;
* Using obscene language;
* Posting malicious or false information about other;
* Harassing, insulting or attacking others;
* Damaging or attempting to damage computers, computer systems or computer networks”
Every time a student logs onto our Intranet they read this. The continued message is always there and this proactive approach has decreased the amount of cyber bullying cases that we have had to deal with.
Regular training from UK agencies like CEOP are a must.

Date: 12.02.2012

Posted by: Petia Marcheva
Type of school: Specialized school
Country: Bulgaria

The described situation is quite similar to the one, which we analyzed together with the vocational school for tourism from our town – a case of cyber bullying, in which two girls published a defamatory material on MySpace. Like in our case, here the direct aim of the harassment is one particular girl, but this fact is hidden behind a mass attack. This way the motive would not be so easy to discover. The perpetrators are mostly worried about what the others will think of them and not how quickly the adults are going to find out why they posted the viral publication. Such a scenario should be best solved through participation of the entire school team and general inclusion of the children in informational and educational activities. This is mainly connected to the fact that the attack is massive and it should be responded to by a massive education and prevention. From this and other similar cases we can draw the conclusion that the girls quite often use such indirect techniques for practicing psychological tormenting. This fact is probably due to deeper empathy of the girl-bullies, because their actions hurt the victims very deeply.
Prevention could be achieved via regular lectures and presentation of specific cases and the outcomes from them (including the harsh consequences and measures taken by the school management for sanctioning the perpetrators of such harassment). Forbidding the use of mobile phones at school or limiting the children’s access to controlled educational Internet web-sites within ICT lessons, could have unsubstantial effects and would not influence the potential perpetrators, particularly when they are not on the school territory. On the other hand, understanding the fact that everybody can be identified on the Internet; that every mobile number can be “caught”, that such indirect attacks have extremely serious and lasting negative effects on the victim’s psyche could influence the behavior of potential wrong-doers. Due to the specifics and the needs of our students, prevention lectures and situational games are very deeply integrated in our daily work and we are achieving excellent results.
Specific courses for teachers and psychologists on the topic of indirect and cyber bullying and the particularities of female empathy would be very useful. Ready lectures, which to be presented before the children, supported by similar thematic case studies.

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