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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

A Knife In School

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

Scenario - A Year 7 pupil (male) brought a knife into school (the pupil is in Year 9 now, so this incident was approximately 2 years ago). This pupil was (and still is) a “good” pupil who had never been in any kind of trouble before. The pupil did not intend to use the knife. The pupil did it to try and impress other members of the year group/school. The pupil knew this was a massive mistake and was upset at their actions. The pupil’s parent’s came into school and he was spoken to about the seriousness of this matter. The pupil has not been in trouble since and is a high achieving pupil in many ‘top sets’ for most subject areas.

Bullying- However, some members of the boy’s year group found it amusing to taunt the boy about bringing a knife into school. Pictures of knives were posted onto the wall of his Facebook account in Year 8 (last year). The boy was very upset about this as he wanted to ‘move on’ from the mistake he had made. Most recently two Year 9 boys were taunting this boy (both whom were involved in the internet jibes in Year 8) and were making cruel remarks over the internet (and BBM- Blackberry Messenger- using mobile phones).

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

• The Year Leader (Head of Year 9) spoke to these boys and confronted them about their behaviour.

• Their parents were informed.

• The boys spent time in the Social Inclusion Room (SIR- a room where they are isolated from the rest of the school and spend the day alone; supervised by a member of staff) for their part in the taunting. This is used to take pupils who are misbehaving/ bullying out of circulation with other pupils that may feel threatened.

• The police were contacted (by the victim’s parents as the incident took place out of school) and both boys were spoken to by a Community Police Officer.

• Both of the pupil’s parents supported the school’s decision for this to be a matter for the police (due to the seriousness, as this problem originally involved a knife).

• Whereas the school recognises the importance of mobile phones, so pupils can contact parents/guardians, our whole school policy is that they are to be switched off and kept in pupil’s bags. This should limit communication to other pupils in school (through mediums such as Blackberry messenger).

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

Impact on the bullying action on the student as perceived by the original school-

Due to the fact that the police spoke to both boys in this incident, the school are very pleased with the impact that has had. There have been no more incidents (involving these boys targeting the other boy) at present.

Didactical pathway-

We believe that the pupils have been taught to let the school deal with serious incidents (such as bringing a knife into school).

The boys who taunted the other boy were sent to the Social Inclusion room; spoken to by senior members of staff and spoken to by the police. This will hopefully act as a deterrent to others who are thinking of behaving in a similar way.

Whereas cyber bullying is difficult to manage, as the majority of it takes place out of school, the school were very happy with the outcome of this individual case.

Students’ motivation-

The fact that this matter was dealt with in severe way, hopefully made the victim feel confident that it will be dealt with successfully in the future, should similar bullying/disparaging remarks take place.

The knock on effect for the ‘bullies’ will hopefully make them realise the severity if they are to repeat offend. They will hopefully consider their actions in other times on the strength of this incident.

Student’s results-

The victim seems pleased with the outcome. No other pupils seem to have mentioned the incident since. The ‘bullies’ have not done anything else since.

The involvement of senior members of staff and the police have put a strong message out to others who may have been thinking about involving themselves in this matter.

School’s integration issues-

The pupils (bullies) were placed in Social inclusion room (SIR) and were reintegrated into school when the staff felt-
i) They had been spoken to with regards to their conduct
ii) They were no longer a risk/ threat to the other pupil (victim)
iii) No further trouble would continue in relation to this particular incident.

Active citizenship-

Both boys (bullies) were spoken to by The Director of Pastoral Care and their Year Leader (Head of Year) whilst in SIR, with regards to their behaviour and the school’s expectations.

Both boys were spoken to by a Police Community Officer, with regards to the laws when posting such comments/abuse on the internet/through BBM.

School environment-

This School offers support for students for any incidents involving bullying. These include-
1. Tutors/Teachers/Support Staff
2. Year leaders (Head of Years 7-11)
3. Private Sessions as part of our Positive Initiative Programme (Specialised staff working with vulnerable/troubled pupils)
4. Open door policy of our School Chaplaincy team (Our school Chaplain works with many pupils regarding many different issues, some of which are bullying).
5. Peer support from our Oasis team and our prefects (2 different groups of Year 10 and 11 pupils who offer advice/support/help to the student community)
6. Support offered by the Director of Pastoral Care (Assistant Head Teacher responsible for pastoral support in school).

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

he case study was given to a number of pupils and their responses from a victims point of view were all very similar some key quotes were

‘ I Would feel alone, afraid and like I had no-one to turn to,’
‘ I would be really annoyed and angry’
‘ I would feel upset and angry at the bullies and would want them to be punished,’
‘ I would ask for help and if nothing was done I would want to move school’,
‘ I would feel upset and want the bullies to leave me alone’,
‘ I would be worried about the incident because if a good student brought a knife into school, think about what the worse student would do’,
I would be upset; he made a mistake and would be very hurt that people continued to remind me about what I had done.

All pupils agreed that the cause of the bullying had been the mistake that the younger pupil had made by bringing the knife into school. The feeling the group had was that he was very naïve in what he did and certainly did not deserve the cyber bullying that followed him. They felt the situation was very difficult because the boy who brought the knife in was in the wrong in the first place.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

The pupils interviewed, when asked about who they felt about the bullying student were all very similar. Some key quotes were,

‘ I would feel very guilty about all the trouble I had caused this young boy’
‘ If that was me, When I looked back and thought about it I would feel bad ‘
‘I would feel scared, Sorry and regret what I did. I would be thinking about how I could get out of trouble ‘
‘I would regret either bullying him/her’
‘That person could get bullied in the future, so I would stop’
‘I’d feel worried, scared and depressed’
‘I would feel bad about what I had done and I would feel bad for the victim’
‘I would feel like my actions were wrong’
‘ I would feel stupid and humiliated because the victim had snitched on me, However, I wouldn’t feel alone because I was not the only one bullying’

The quotes highlighted the general discussion and viewpoints of most of the students who were asked about their viewpoints about what was happening. However, one student said during the discussion that

‘I would feel like I was the powerful one , as I would have doing the bullying and targeting him. I felt this comment was very telling was very telling and could be linked to why students bully in the first place. The notion of ‘being powerful’, was perhaps a student’s attempt to

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

Pupils interviewed stated that if they witnessed the incident mentioned in the case study they would feel

‘ Horrified, confused and scared they would bully me’,
‘ I would be appalled about the fact that fellow students could be so mean to a fellow student’,
‘ I’d feel confused about what to do, to tell someone or ignore it’,
If I witnessed this I would help the victim and try and make sure everything would be ok’
‘ Regretting to tell someone because you don’t want to get involved’,
‘ I would know not to do something similar because the police were involved’,
‘I would feel like I had to tell someone, I could not let this type of bullying slip though my fingers’.

This question had the biggest mix response, with some students feeling duty bound to help the victim and some feeling that they would not want to in the middle of such a tricky situation.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

This was discussed with a fellow colleague at school and we feel that the problem arose because the school did not deal with the first issue well enough. We felt bringing a knife into school is a serious and dangerous thing to do no matter what the intentions of the ‘victim ‘. The seriousness of this event seems to not have been addressed well by the school and lead to other pupils making a ‘joke’ out of the situation. This should have been addressed in either assemblies, PHSE lessons or by tutors at the school. By not being addressed and almost being brushed under the carpet we felt that this sent a negative message to pupils that lead to the bullying.

The cyber bullying was clearly distressing and from talking to pupils at HGSC about this we can clearly see that most of them had a great deal of empathy for the victim. We felt the school dealt with this matter very well and eased the tensions in a very sensitive way. We felt that the victim would have felt confident in coming back to school after the incident had been dealt with and the bully would not have had al negative label attached to themselves but still would be aware of the consequences of his actions.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

In many ways this is a complex issue involving not only the school, parents, students but also the police. There is also the issue about the impact of social networking in terms of cyber bullying and the difficulty in managing this as a school.

The key to all this is that the school has clearly defined procedures and policies and that the matter is dealt with professionally by all those involved following those procedures. Good communication is also an important consideration so that everyone feels the matter was dealt with properly, there are clear messages being sent out to students and parents and that there is a feeling that the outcome is both fair and just but also seeks to move things forward for all parties concerned, restorative practice being used where possible. Schools are not courts of law!

In terms of this particular scenario it is clear that the original knife incident is serious and that fact needs to be communicated to the student population and also parents. In many schools the original incident would have been punished regardless of whether there was police involvement or not. In the technological world we live in, policing cyber bullying is very difficult but alerting students and parents needs to be high on schools’ agendas. It is also important that pastoral staff continue to monitor the situation offering support as appropriate.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

Parents asked about this situation were very satisfied with the way the situation was dealt with, within the case study. One parent in particular was quoted as saying..

‘From a parent's point of view, I think I would have been satisfied that the matter had been dealt with in an appropriate manner. It seemed to have had a positive outcome, both in terms of the victim and the bullies. Hopefully all those involved would have learned from the experience and moved on in a more responsible manner’.

However, one parent felt that the first incident was not dealt with well in the first place. They were happy with the way the bullies were dealt with but stated:

‘Firstly was there a punishment for the boy with the knife?
What sort of knife was it?

If I were the parents of the pupil who took the knife into school, I would have been more than pleased with the way it was dealt with because it reads that apart from being spoken to with his parents present, he got NO punishment.

If I were the parents of the ‘bullies’ I feel that was dealt with correctly for what they did, I would have removed their phones, internet, etc. grounded them and generally made them suffer, they would have to prove they could be trusted before these privileges were reinstated.

But if you compare it to what the ‘good’ boy did and got no punishment, how is this fair. Who decided that he wasn’t going to use the knife? He must have shown it to the boys for them to know about it. A knife is an offensive weapon, why wasn’t he excluded, spoken to by the police, put in isolation.
‘Good boys’ can commit crime.

This school has not reacted properly to the first boys’ crime. Where is the consistency? What happens next time someone takes a knife into school?

Far too lenient on the ‘good’ boy..

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

The school responded really well to the incident of bullying, however the first incident involving the knife seems to have been dealt with differently.

Possible additional actions: Anti-bullying assemblies/PSHE lessons/getting involved in anti-bullying week/possibly getting two sides together if appropriate. An emphasis on cyber bullying seems very relevant since a number of the pupils seemed unsure how to respond.

My actions as a counsellor would depend on who is telling me the information – if the victim, support him through the counselling and encourage him to report bullying to teacher/parent. If anyone else the nature of the work in the counselling would depend on if it was a friend/witness/one of the bullies. If the client wanted to disclose then I would support him/her through the process.

The report suggests that the impact of the incident was minimalised.

It appears that school did not bring in counselling support. Counselling could also perhaps have been offered to the boy who brought the knife to understand his motivation.

Counselling for the bullies could be benefical to enable them to explore why they were motivated to carry out the bullying
Counsellor could get involved in anti-bullying groups or peer mentoring.

From the report it seems as though there would be no long-term consequences for the student – he seems happy with the way he was treated and to treatment of those who bullied him. Check out with him if he needs some support – counselling as one option.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

In many ways this is a complex issue involving not only the school, parents, students but also the police. Knife crime is becoming a major issue in this country and schools need to have prepared policies and procedures for dealing with students who bring knives into school. There is also the issue about the impact of social networking in terms of cyber bullying and the difficulty in managing this as a school. In our Authority we work closely with the police to ensure that there is always an appropriate response.

The key to all this is that the school has clearly defined procedures and policies and that the matter is dealt with professionally by all those involved following those procedures. Good communication is also an important consideration so that everyone feels the matter was dealt with properly, there are clear messages being sent out to students and parents and that there is a feeling that the outcome is both fair and just but also seeks to move things forward for all parties concerned, restorative practice being used where possible. Schools are not courts of law!

In terms of this particular scenario it is clear that the original knife incident is serious and that fact needs to be communicated to the student population and also parents. In many schools the original incident would have been punished regardless of whether there was police involvement or not. In the technological world we live in, policing cyber bullying is very difficult but alerting students and parents needs to be high on schools’ agendas. It is also important that pastoral staff continue to monitor the situation offering support as appropriate.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

It is very clear from all parties involved in sharing this case study that this was a very difficult situation to deal with. Cyber bullying linked to a past serious incident involving a knife is a very complex and difficult situation to unpick. It would be only too easy to suggest that the boy had brought it upon himself by bringing the knife into school.

A lot of the adults interviewed as part of this process were not pleased with how the school coated over the original incident with the knife. Although they were sure that the school would have dealt with this; it was felt that this was not done in a way that concluded the situation and was generally felt that this lead to the cyber bullying – or it at least provided the atmosphere in which someone who was inclined could operate. The head of PSR, teachers and one of the parents were in agreement that this was glossed over and if it would have been dealt with well could have prevented the ongoing cyber bullying.

The majority of pupils involved had a lot of empathy towards the victim and seemed to not to acknowledge the past incident about the knife.

Everyone involved in the project felt that the cyber bullying was dealt with well at the second school but, with the increase in knife crime in Britain, I suspect that the initial incident would be dealt with differently today as many school will automatically exclude any student bringing a knife into school.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDY IN BULGARIAN LANGUAGE:

Нож в училище.pdf

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 30.03.2012

Posted by: Isabelle Closon
Type of school: Secondary School
Country: Belgium

We have already met cyber-bullying cases. Theses case were often reactions regarding facts that the « moral common code » or and the pupils’ code reprove
For instance, a young girl tries to seduce another girl’s official boyfriend. After a short time, she appears in a facebook group with a lot of insults.
Another girl confides a sexual video tape of herself to her boyfriend. Two years later the lovers are separated. Another pupil who feels injured (after a denunciation) by the girl avanges himself by informing some of his fellows of the existence of the video.
Regarding the event « a knife at school ».
I am surprised that a pupil who broughts a weapon at school is reprimanded while bullies are summoned by the police and placed in solitary confinement.
I thing that the good pupil has brought a knife at school in order to defy the school authorities and to break his own image of « good pupil ».
Maybe he was unconvincing for both bullies and maybe these ones wanted to punish his behaviour. Maybe they also thought the school’s reponses was not sufficient for the first event (knife).
In our school, we don’t call for the police in bullying cases in order to distinguish the school procedure from the civil law procedure. Generally the people file complaints themselved when they feel injured (theft, bullying, stroke,…).
I think ii is interesting that a procedure exists in case of bulying and that different levels of power are cooperating : teachers, peers, coordinators.
I also think that it would have been interesting to organize mediation between the pupils involved (bully-victim).
As far as mediation is concerned, we often call for the PMS (psycho-medico-social service) or for the school mediation service.
Resorting to mediation allows the pupils to have the feeling that there is no winner and no loser, because that would favor future bullying events. Mediation gives the pupils the opportunity to bring their points of view together, to confront their values, so it is also an educational activity.

Date: 20.03.2012

Posted by: Christine CLOES
Type of school: Association
Country: Belgium

Comparison :
In the situations we have observed in Belgium, we have not met cases of weapon (knife or other weapon) brought at school by a pupil. Contrariwise, the cases of cyber-bullying are more and more numerous in Belgium as in the other countries. No doubt this is a social phenomenon, all the more worrying since it is beyond the scope of the school and difficult to control. This implicates an intensified collaboration between all the school actors (teachers, headmaster’s office, educators, parents, internal and external counsellors…).
As most of the English pupils, teachers and parents, I’m struck by a kind of lack of balance between the events reported and the sanctions imposed: on the one hand the triggering element which is very serious according to me (the future victim has brought a weapon at school) and which has gone almost unnoticed (except for the fellows), and on the other hand the cyber-bullying, with an immediate drastic sanction (intervention of the police and isolation in a “re-socialisation” class).

Recommendation :
It is clear that the lack of response appropriate to the first event is partly responsible of the events that have followed. If the initial event has been properly managed, the aggressors would probably not have had the idea to bully the author and/or they would have feared drastic sanctions.
It is essential for the school to show a clear and fair policy regarding violent events. The pupils (as well as their parents) have to know what sanctions to expect if they infringe the rules, but they also need to be made aware of these problematics as well as the teachers and the parents.
In the case reported, the counsellors have not been called. However it would probably have been rewarding both for the victim and his aggressors.
I we compare these situations with the ones we know in Belgium, we can find some similarities regarding the devices set up in the schools: isolation in a “re-socialisation” class for the pupils who behaved badly (in Belgium this kind of device exists in some schools, but also outside school), specialized teams to support the pupils in trouble, support by the peers, etc.

Relevance :
In Belgium, as in the other countries, the teachers are not well-equipped enough to face these situations. Indeed, trainings of this type are available, but not compulsory. They should be integrated into the initial and continuous teachers’ training.

Date: 14.03.2012

Posted by: Dana Danaila
Type of school: Primary School
Country: ROMANIA

Bringing a knife into school is a serious and dangerous thing to do no matter what the intentions of the ‘victim’.

The school has clearly defined procedures and policies and the matter has been dealt with professionally by all those involved following those procedures. Good communication is also very important so that everyone feels the matter was dealt with properly. Parents and pupils must know that schools are not battlefields or courts of law!

In many schools the original incident would have been punished regardless of whether there was police involvement or not. I think this school has not reacted properly to the first boy’s crime. What happens next time someone takes a knife into school? Maybe he was going to use the knife; he must have shown it to the boys for them to know about it or not. A knife is an offensive weapon, he should have been excluded, spoken to by the police, put in isolation, because even good boys can do wrong.

It is very clear that this is a very difficult situation to deal with. Cyberbullying connected to an incident involving a knife is a very complex situation. I would say that it all started when the boy brought the knife into school. In my opinion the school should have dealt with the original incident more seriously; the boy should have been grounded from the very beginning.

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: GIOVANNI SGROI
Type of school: VOCATIONAL ISTITUTE
Country: Italy

ENVISAGED THE CASE, WHILE NOT HAVING SPECIFIC ELEMENTS IN COMMON WITH OUR events INSTITUTE PRESENTS THE CHANCE TO Occur IN THE ABSTRACT.
The 'NEED OF' SELF TO BRING A KNIFE WITH Pupil TO SCHOOL, Clearly, ONE SHOWS THE STUDENT WITH PROBLEMS Relating TO THE OTHER STUDENTS. THE CAUSES OF THIS ATTITUDE, IN MY OPINION, IS TO LOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE IN 'FAMILY AND OF COURSE, THEN, IN' S SCHOOL. WITH REFERENCE TO THE SAME WHY SHOULD HAVE HEARD THE FAMILY OF HIS SON difficulty, WITH REFERENCE TO THE SCHOOL, TEACHERS WHY EVEN WITH 'THE HELP OF CLASS MATES, WOULD HAVE THE FOLLOWING ALERT difficulty Subjects PRESENTED WITH THE CASE. TARGET EVEN WITH THE 'NEXT EXPERIENCE IS THE FACT THAT THE STUDENT IN' Brings Discomfort RELATIONAL ACCOUNT OF HIS REDUCED BY OTHERS TO FIND COMFORT IN Considered IT COME TO SCHOOL WITH A KNIFE. The 'NEGATIVE OUTLOOK OF THIS WAS THAT OF Discomfort' bullying BY SOME ACT OF STUDENTS. The 'Bullying MADE THROUGH THE ACT OF PAGES OF THE SOCIAL NETWORK, FACEBOOK WHAT CONSTITUTES A CLEAR RESULT OF DISTORTION OF' USE OF A MEANS OF COMMUNICATION TO OTHER VALID. The 'usage not THAT SOCIAL NETWORK BY YOUNG, Obviously COMES FROM THE FAILURE OF THE YEAR' Obligation TO ENSURE THE CHILDREN BY HOUSEHOLD AND Educating DOVREBBRO WHICH, IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE RIGHT TIME TO DEDICATE Their CHILDREN, AND THE REGULATIONS 'USE OF SOCIAL NETWORK IN DAILY LIFE AND CHECK IN EVERY CASE THE CONTENT FROM BROADCAST YOURSELF. I BELIEVE, WITH THE STUDENTS HAD WITH THE SCHOOL OR Discussions OTHER GUYS THAT THIS SET OF NEGATIVE behaviors unfortunately THIS IS IN OUR FAMILIES strongly. WHAT FOLLOWS THAT NEED TO BE WORKING AGAINST THE FAMILY AND THE SCHOOL, WHICH ENTITY FOR HIS KIND OF EDUCATION OF THE PERSON. He proposed THEREFORE TO DIRECT RESOURCES TO MAKE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN TARGETING SOCIAL CONTENT TO MAKE THEM AWARE OF THE PROBLEM FOR FAMILY and Sensitizing Them to a 'ACTION DIRECTED TO THE CONDUCT OF Revise Their CHILDREN. THE SCHOOL, glowering, HIS, SHOULD WORK WITH THE TEACHERS TO PUSH FOR A REFLECTION ON Pupils 'NEEDS OF RESPECT' FOR EVERY INDIVIDUAL AND BY ANY MEANS, STILL TRYING THAT CONSTITUTE Circumstances ATTENZIONARE ADVANCE INDEX OF PERSONAL discomfort. Therefore I suggest OPERATE THROUGH THE FORECAST OF REFRESHER COURSES FOR TEACHERS IN 'SCOPE OF COMMUNICATIONS IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT BETTER TO SEND Those THE FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS OF A COMMUNITY SOCIAL LIFE, EVEN SCHOOL.

Date: 12.03.2012

Posted by: Marta Cortés Pozas
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

The common elements was not equal punishment for both parties.
As common elements would be the steps taken to harassing students and the limited measures taken in reference to the existence of a knife as I think the school should not be allowed and should take strict guidelines regarding this.
I think the principal would have found support in school and had been the greatest difficulty in the response of educational administration and teacher training to implement feasible measures at the Centre.
The key is that the school has clearly defined procedures, and that the matter is treated with professionals involved in the case.
You must create a code or specific rules on abuse of equals, this code should criminalize and punish the ways to exercise violence between couples.
The process to get to this code must be the result of a consensus among all levels of the school community: teachers, students and families.
This favors the active participation of all members of the educational community with a character-forming.
Another strategy would be the intervention and observation: schools, classroom, recess, hallways. In addition to including individualized intervention methods to address specific problems, such mediation or disincentives, so that students are victims or have a problem and have to turn to.
Need for training in the impact of social networks in terms of cyberbullying and how to work in the classroom.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Domenica Sturiale
Type of school: Secondary School
Country: Italia

In my school there was a similar case, relatively to a episode of cyberbullying by a group of a class of eighth grade against a 'teacher who was the subject of vilification and sometimes even insults on Facebook by some pupils in the class that unruly or with very big social and familiar problems behind. The boys were called and the parents notified.
There were no major differences between the strategies used in the case analyzed school and my school.
The main support was provided by the teacher's colleagues, who once discovered the situation had immediately alerted the headmaster, who in turn summoned a council of classroom overtime to decide the appropriate strategies to deal with the delicate situation . Even the families of the students have contributed, scolding their children and collaborating with the school.
From here it follows that each school is required to activate the awareness training and operational activities to update all the teachers.

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