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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

The lively and the calm

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

The event takes place between two students, both at school and in the bus on the way back from school to their homes. Since the beginning of the school year, such events occur between the bully and the victim. The bully is a vivid child, who wants to always have his way, unlike the victim, which is a very lonely child, quiet, with low selfesteem. In several school breaks, the bully hurts the victim in various ways, prods, teases, etc. The victim does not react in any of the teases. In some cases, the bully asked the victim to be beside him during breaks, when he played a board game with another classmate, because he believed that the victim brings him luck. So the victim that wanted to go out at the school yard during breaks, forced to stay in because of the bully. The phenomenon reached its peak, one afternoon, on the bus, during the return to their homes, where the bully hurt the victim with the excuse that he was mad because his favorite basketball team lost a game the previous day. Since then, the teases continued (especially when teachers are not present), but never to a big extent.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:


When teachers were noticing any sign of intimidation, interfered discretely and separated initially the victim from the bully. Then, a separate discussion was conducted with each one, so to empower the victim so as to gain confidence, and to prevent similar incidents from the side of the abuser. The bully did not seem to easily understand that his actions were improper and denied many times that has hurt or disturbed the victim. As observers, the other classmates, were usually neutral and took no action to support either one or the other, nor to separate them. The parents of the victim intervened only once, when the incident happened on the bus, where the victim was attacked and arrived at his home in tears. Then they informed the school principal, who rebuked the disciple. To avoid similar incidents in their return to their homes, it was decided the students to be seated, on the bus, the one away from each other. The social worker of the school speaks often with the two students regarding the subject, discussing every time individually with each one. In addition, an indormative events took place at the school about the phenomenon of school bullying, focusing mainly on the causes, responses and consequences for both the victim and the bully.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:


The phenomenon of school bullying in whatever form it appears has unpleasant results for both the victim, the family and the school environment. The everyday life of the victim is influenced greatly and as a result any feelings of insecurity are increasing. So various areas of life are affected, from psychology to the school performance and willingness to participate in activities, etc.
More specifically, regarding school performance and teaching in the classroom, there is a gradual indifference and abstention from activities. Although the victim and the bully are not in the same classroom, there are some changes in the behavior of the victim regarding his interest in learning. The victim was always quiet and shy child, but always willing to help or participate in group or individual activities during lessons and school breaks. But lately it seems to be concerned and he does not concentrate easily. He has no desire to participate in the educational process, he is not consistent with his obligations, he forgets to do homework, etc. This behavior also affects the rest of the classroom, although the class doesn’t hold many children.
Regarding motivation of students, it varies depending on their role in the event or incident of school bullying. The bully is a sensitive child and in his attempt to hide that side of himself, becomes aggressive towards the weakest. So in the case presented in our school, the bully is a sensitive but lively child, who wants to control everything, without caring for the feelings it causes to others. There is no specific reason for which he is aggressive. The reasons or rather excuses may result from a random incident, his desire to have fun by teasing the victim, or by some beliefs that he has in mind (e.g. that the victim brings him luck in some board games), etc. The real reason, of course, is deeper and difficult to explore and overcome. On the other hand, the victim, rarely talks about what bothers him and accepts the teasing by peers, without reacting at all.
Regarding the results of the school bullying phenomenon, the victim does not speak too much with other classmates, he prefers being isolated duringt the breaks, he is not in good mood, etc. On the other hand, the bully is social and lively, seeks to control the rest of his classmates, he likes to give commands and have the control of everything in school. He is happy when he manages to impose on others, and when someone is noticing his behavior, he is trying to deny it or hide it. The other school children appear not to react to school bullying events, as they don’t participate or take any action when perceiving such actions. On the other hand, there have been noticed some isolated and occasional incidents of teasing, by the observers towards other weak peers. These incidends may copy or being inspired by some school bullying incidents, but are not extensive or continuous and therefore can not be regarded as school bullying incidents.
Once incidents of school bullying are recorded in the school, all teachers observe both the victim and the bully, discreetly, so as such actions not to be repeated again. At the same time, discussions have begun both in some courses, as well as by the school social worker, in order to eliminate the phenomenon. On the one hand, efforts are made towards the bully, in order to realize and understand the consequences that his actions may have on the victim and on the other hand efforts are made towards the victim, in order to gain confidence and learn to deal with such incidents with courage and strength. At the same time, discussions are underway with all students, so as to understand the harmful effects of school bullying. Eforts for cooperation of all students during essays and projects, participation in experiential games, learning democracy and solidarity aspects, etc are made. At the same time, the above mentioned actions and the course Social and Vocational Education, seek to empower students to develop a sense of responsibility , to participate in public affairs, to acquire democratic thinking, to develop a spirit of volunteerism, etc., in order to develop as best as possible, active citizenship in the future. These actions are part of a long-term planning that takes place throughout the school year and implemented in small steps, largely due to the nature of school (special education school).
The school environment encourages these actions as a key role in problems’ solving hplds the democratic processes rather than punishment, which has undoubtedly results. Any issues arising in school, in general, are discussed by both the association of teachers and the director, and the specific scientific staff who consists of a social worker and other specialised staff. The integration of students is one of the key principles of the school, as students of this school have many different disabilities which make them different from one another. The diversity of each one is treated equally, all students are involved, in their own way, in order to maintain this climate of cooperation . The incident of school bullying that occurred at school, is a rare event, as most children do not exhibit such behavior. But the continuity and consistency of its appearance, prooves how serious is the problem, for which many elimination and treatments attempts are made.


POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:


The victim, as mentioned above, is a boy shy and very quiet. During breaks he is almost always isolated, except a few times, where he is playing football with other children, always when others are asking him to do so. He has never suggested to a schoolmate to do something together, during the break, such as playing, walking together, etc. He speaks rarely, does not eat much and is always very calm. He avoids discussing with teachers or other children what's happening. He accepts everyday teasing without resisting. Only a few times he has spoken to a teacher spontaneously, and this is when he is intensely annoyed by someone or something (which is usually repeated). He perceives the daily teasing by the bully as "normal", although disturbed and forced to do things he doesn’t want (like staying in during breaks, or respectively to go out at the school yard at the will of the bully). Often accepts the view that the bully does not do it on purpose and accepts it. He tolerates, in a few words, what the bully tries to impose him. It seems that he is afraid to talk to teachers or parents. Sometimes he starts conversations with professors, but often regrets and soesn’t continue to say what he was thinking. He has reported school bullying incidents to teachers twice, and once to his parents. The incident reported to his parents was also the culmination of the phenomenon of school bullying, as he was hited by the bully. He considers himself weak compared to the bully, so he does not react normally. He states that he does not know why the bully treats him this way.


POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):


In the case presented to the school where I am working, the bully is one. He is about 3 years older than the victim, he has a feisty character and likes to participate in everything, sometimes playing the role of teacher to other classmates. He likes to have everything under control, to command the rest of his classmates and especially the weakest, he is very competitive, both in class and during team games. He does not like losing and gets mad when things aren’t done in his way. His motivation is that he likes being more powerfull than other students and likes to make them to obey him (sometimes he commadnds other children as well, but usually has an obsession with a particular child, the victim, who is the most quiet in school). That is mainly the reason for which he has choosen this child, as he speaks rarely and usually does not bring any objections. In addition, both students commute daily from home to school, and vice versa with the same bus. This allows him to disturb the victim not only in school, but outside it as well. He certainly does not consider on a daily basis that he does something bad or unproper.He only realizes it in some cases, after being puniched or relevant conversations and seems to regret temporary.

POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:


The other students usually doesn’t get involved in bullying incidents. They do not seem to be aware of what takes place. They observe a persistence by the bully to the victim, but they do not seem to recognize the impact that these actions may have on the psychology of the victim. They believe that the bully behaves in this way mainly for fun and without any other apparent reason. During the incident on the bus (which was the most important), where the bully hit the victim, no other students were present. Usually they don’t react to any incident happening and remain neutral. When asked why they do not react, they respond that they do not consider that teasing is made with the intention to harm the victim, but rather to laugh. They claim of course that they would not wish to be in the place of the victim. Moreover, despite the fact that teasing is daily, it is not always apparent, as may occur in the hallway or stairs, or in the school yard.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:


Teachers are aware of the school bullying incidents presented in our school. They are informed as well about the program "I am not scared", which was considered very interesting by them and from which they derived much information about the phenomenon of school bullying. Since the beginning of the school year they had seen the constant teasing of the bully to the victim and we discussed it as well. Some teachers that weren’t informed about the school bullying phenomenon started to understand and be aware of what was happening when informed about school bullying. Some of them even wanted to learn more and read some articles and texts from the database program. After much discussions, both among ourselves and with the director and expertised staff, we all decided to try to create a more democratic climate in school where each student will respect himself and his classmate. This will be achieved through many discussions and group activities, which will develop noble ideals. Moreover, we will be very careful with the victim and the bully, and will make sure that they will stay as less as possible together . If any teasing takes place, by the bully to the victim, we will interfer discreetly, in order to eliminate such events.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:


The director of the school was informed for both the existence of the problem of school bullying at school, and for the project «I am not scared", for which he showed interest and agreed immediately to participate with the description of a case study. He agreed to all actions proposed for the elimination of school bullying. Moreover, at every opportunity, he would speak to students about how to behave among themselves in order to be cooperative and happy. The Director was the first to be informed, by the parents of the victim, for the incident that took place in the school bus, between the bully and the victim. Then he rebuked the bully, withoun naming him, as he had gathered all the children and talked to them. Most children certainly understood to who he was addressed to, as well as the bully, who seemed regretfull. After that, he did not mention the incident in front of children afain, but there were many discussions with the council of teachers on how to tackle the phenomenon. To eliminate the phenomenon and to improve children's relationships with each other, the school director believes that we should primarily show a good example to children, through our attitude. Furthermore, he considers that there should be targeted attempts, both through specific discussions, and through activities where the children will participate, in order to deal the phenomenon.
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POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:


The victim's parents were informed by the victim himself, the day the incident took place on the bus, as the victim returned crying at home. Before this incident, they had not noticed any strange behavior as he was always calm, silent and timid. The next day they informed the school director, hoping that the director and teachers will solve the problem and that this action will not be repeated. Then, with constant communication with the social worker of the school they were informed about the phenomenon of school bullying in general, and the daily banter that their child receives from the bully. From their side, they try to enhance their child’s confidence, to aid him to become more social and outgoing and encourage him to talk about any problem facing.
On the other hand, the parents of the bully, have not realized anything until they were informed by the school. They acknowledged that their child wants to be always the center of attention and having in control as much as possible, but never believed that he would reach to a point where he will hurt a classmate. They were informed about the phenomenon of school bullying, and decided to work with the social workern in order to deal with the problem calmly and methodically on both sides (school, family). They felt that, they should not be so conciliatory with their child and decided to put limits in his daily life.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

The commentary would be more impactful if we had known the diagnosis of the specific nature of the students (perpetrator and victim) based on attending a special school.
The social presence of the abuser at the school, as described by the teachers, leads us to find the motivation of his behavior towards the victim at the very personality of the perpetrator. It is a narcissistic personality type, which through intimidation with addictive personalities - as outlined by the victim's personality-reconstructs a symbolic level to any experience can be a psychic factor. The intimidation turns into physical violence when they are not sufficient to defuse the emotional intensity, so the narcissistic personality is unable to control the impulses.
The attitude of the victim - a high level of tolerance to bullying, rationalizing the behavior of the perpetrator - consistent with the characteristics of an addictive personality. The stoic attitude of the victim serves as a mechanism to replenish the unmet need to reassure yourself and recognition in order to highlight others a self-image through role attributed to the abuser. Only when the abuser makes physical violence victims 'wake', released by the entrenched representations of the behavior of the abuser Ms. reassess the impact of this behavior. This process creates great psychological pressure and was forced to disclose the issue, giving it attributes the problem and seek help from family and school.
The intervention of the Director assessed rather positively. It undertakes initiatives arising from the pedagogy of jurisdiction, than more of one counseling for the abuser, and prefers to address the problem of teachers' association and the professional school staff, agents who worked with light to enhance the personality of both the victim and the perpetrator, so that both become socially mature.
The impact on school communities is not emerging severe. The attitude of the victim at length - tolerance and acceptance of bullying - and the lack of eyewitnesses to the incident of physical violence prevented the risk to break the cohesion of the school community. Negative impact is the fact that other students had difficulty understanding what exactly is the problem and can create doubt on the notion of regularity so much need for psychological equilibrium students of special schools.
The intervention of a counselor, through repeated sessions - would involve renegotiating both the victim and the perpetrator of some elements of their personality. For the perpetrator goal would be the narcissistic retraction mediated by 'other' between impulses and practice. For the victim objective would be to develop a non-addictive personality with the strengthening of self-protection. Also, interference with family, teachers and school social worker for cooperation in achieving goals is important.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

There was not a person from a public authority about the incidents. The school Director informed later a Teacher Advisor about the case and she commented briefly as follows:
The lack of a counselor or a social worker or a psychologist in schools is strongly evident each time these kind of events are happen. These kind of events unfortunately happens often in schools.
The way director faced the problem is distinctive, positive and educationally in the right direction. If a counselor from the Youth Advisory Station was directly informed he/she could help effectively, and replace in some way a counselor at school.
If authorities of the local community (Municipality services) and other agencies of the Administration of Public Education were informed about the case, they could provide a supportive role to the teachers and the Director for handling such cases.

CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

Many different factors contributed to the occurrence of the incident described above.The character of the bully (dynamic, who wants to be in the spotlight, and wishes a leadership role, etc.), and the character of the victim (quiet, with low self esteem, receptive, etc.) allowed to the phenomenon to take place. Since the bully didn’t find any resist when he started teasing the victim, he perceived that he can continue acting in this way, and enjoyed controlling the victim. A random event (the defeat of his favorite basketball team) was able to create the appropriate conditions and bring the phenomenon to its peak. The both children who were directly involved (bully and victim), and observers, do not seem to have realized the 100% of the events occured. On the other hand, both parents of e victim and the bully, as well as their teachers have realised the situation and cooperated to solve the problem. The presence of social worker at school played a very important role as her participation was crucial. In Greece, social workers or psychologists are allowed to work only in special education schools (and not to all types of public school) , whose role and work is very important and they should work in all types of schools, in oerder to resolve any problems.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDY IN BULGARIAN LANGUAGE:

Активният и спокойният.pdf

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 26.03.2012

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

This case is a typical situation of school bullying that can occur in everey country. The specific personalities of both students are also typical : the bully is a dynamic boy, who wants to be in the spotlight, and wishes a leadership role, and the victim is a quiet student, with low self esteem, very receptive, etc.

In Belgium, we can notice the same behavior among the observers (not really aware of the situation and/or fearing reprisals) and also the effective response of the educational staff as soon as they become aware of the problem. The presence of social workers or psychologists at school is also very helpful to resolve any problems.

A relevant point of divergence is that in Belgium, counselors, social workers or psychologists are allowed to work in all types of schools and this is very helpful to deal with the school bullying phenomenon.

In this case, we can notice the positive impact of the projet to make the teaching staff aware of the important issue of school bullying. In Belgium we have also underlined this benefic effect of the project on the school policy regarding school bullying events.

The communication with the parents is also a key to manage the situation properly for both students and once again the social workers or counselors play a very important role in this kind of mediation.

Date: 07.03.2012

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

The case is similar to the one analyzed by our school – direct verbal and physical violence – targeting a boy. Here the bully - the stronger, imposing, demanding boy - quite honestly is unable to see that what he is doing is wrong. Physical violence is very broadly disseminated among the boys and obviously pushing, prodding, etc. were not considered unusual communication means. Still, the victim is strongly influenced by these event, tormented. His self-esteem is lower than ever and he abstains also from sharing with his parents.
In cases such as this one, presenting the point of view and describing the hurt feelings of the victim to the bully could prove useful for depicting a situation, which falls within the boundaries of bullying. The bully should comprehend the wrongness of his deeds.
Appointing children on duty during the bus trips would be useful for monitoring the events to and from school. Establishing a community of ex-victims, who support each other and teach each other how to avoid or overcome bullying, would also be useful.

Date: 18.02.2012

Posted by: Ann Foxley-Johnson
Type of school: Secondary 11-16 Comprehensive School
Country: United Kingdom

At the College where I am Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator we have had several incidents on the school bus. This seems to be because the tormentors believe they can ‘rule’ the bus environment without teachers/adults knowing.

We have had a similar incident recently with an Y11 very popular student and an Y7 with Special Educational needs .
This was reported by the Y7 student himself after an incident where the bully had been targeting him on the school bus several times and had physically assaulted the Y7 –grabbing him around the neck and pulling him up the bus towards other Y11 students. The Y7 student was traumatised to say the least, he only escaped as the bus stopped and the bus driver told them to stop.
The Y11 was dealt with in line with our Anti-Bullying Policy, he recieved detentions at Lunchtimes and had a meeting with his head of year and myself, the Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator , and a ‘bus ban’ for 2 weeks. The bully’s parents were informed and were supportive of the actions taken.
The target was referred to a Learning Mentor in College and worked with/supported to enable him to move forward. In the UK we are lucky to have the support of many External agencies, Social workers, Family Liaison workers who work/support the families in the local area- something I notice in Greece does not happen in a main stream school setting. I would suggest that Learning Mentors –who are specialists in breaking down the barriers to learning, are considered to be implemented at least. Children need someone to talk to (other than a teacher) that they can trust and open up to. We have 2 in place in College and often joke we need 20!

The target’s (in this study) behaviour is worrying as his self esteem has been affected, evidence that he starts to open up then stops, doesn’t report to his parents and that he ‘considers himself weak’ –In our college he would be a priority and would be offered a Learning Mentor and a peer buddy to help him build back up his confidence to enable him to feel confident in reporting any further incidents.
As a trained Restorative Practinoner I would also offer a ‘Restorative Justice’ meeting in the future between the two, this is a controlled meeting and a safe environment in which the target feels empowered enough to talk to their tormentor about how their actions made them feel.EG ‘I felt really sad when you hit me, I couldn’t concentrate on my school work’ It can be a powerful tool so the bully can think about and start to understand the impact of their actions.

The bully in this case appeared to know what he was doing – it was wrong, as he chose to do most of his bullying when teachers were not present and when he was caught he was ‘regretful’. In the UK we would definitely offer counselling to the bully as well, as he develops an ‘obsession’ with others and has issues with anger management ‘gets mad when things aren’t done his way’.
Parents are the key, the partnership between College and home is vital in all cases of bullying and indeed school life.
One strategy to consider is ‘BUS BUDDIES’ –Students are trained to support more vulnerable children on school buses. All children then should be informed of who these are on the bus and can choose to sit near them. A clear educational program is needed to let all children know the impact of anti-social behaviour and the definition of Bullying and the sanctions that will occur should they choose this behaviour. This can be completed by a key member of staff –an Anti-Bullying Co-ordinator who can train children, staff and parents.
The school dealt with the incident effectively but a clear Anti-Bullying Policy/Action Plan written by staff, students and parents is a clear step forward to base any further Anti-Bullying Work on.

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