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TITLE OF THE CASE STUDIES:

Appearance is Everything

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

Student X was born with a minor facial disfigurement. The correction of this condition left her with a visible scar on her face. Student X moved to the area shortly before she started in Year 7. She was subjected to unpleasant comments, such as “eurgh”, on the school bus and as she walked around the school.

These comments were made by students of different ages who had no other contact with her. Student X would react in a dramatic manner to the name-callers and this would encourage them to continue with their bullying behaviour.

On occasions the bullying extended to physical intimidation including hair pulling and deliberately walking into her on the corridors. The bullying continued on-and-off for a period of 18 months.

RESPONSE IMPLEMENTED:

The school were originally made aware of the problem by the parents of student X after a particularly unpleasant bus journey home. Student X was asked to make a statement of the event and identify the students responsible.

At this time the bullies were spoken to by their Leader of Student Development, their social time at school was removed and they warned about their future conduct. Student X was offered counselling by her form tutor or access to the school counsellor. She turned down the offer as she did not want to re-live a situation that had made her so unhappy.

Within 2 weeks the bullies began to call Student X names on the bus again. This resulted in the parents of Student X changing the bus that she used to get to and from school. The bullies were again confronted by members of the school teaching staff and placed on behaviour reports to monitor what they were saying to Student X.

Student X repeatedly turned down any offer of support including a meeting with the bullies to confront them over their behaviour. She expressed the view that she wanted as little to do with the bullies as possible and would rather act as if they did not exist.

Student X stopped reporting the incidents and the school was led to believe that the bullying had stopped. Another student witnessed a bullying incident by a group of girls on Student X and reported it to her parents.

Student X’s parents contacted a senior member of the teaching staff. The senior teacher wrote to the parents of the bullies and invited them into school to discuss their bullying activities.

The school organised a weekly feedback book with the parents of Student X to monitor the situation and ensure that any repeated bullying was discovered immediately and stopped before it got to the stage it had done.

IMPACT OF THE BULLYING ACTION:

The impact on Student X was a dramatic change in attitude towards to school. Student X was a very high achieving girl who was in the top 5 students in the year group for academic achievement and motivational grades.

Following on from the initial bullying incidents she became frightened to come to school, particularly when she was getting on the bus without her friends.

She would lie to her parents about feeling ill so that she didn’t have to go to school or could go in late on a different bus.

Student X would hide in the toilets during break and lunch times or try to engage the teacher in long conversations after lessons so that she didn’t have to encounter the bullies.

Student X stopped answering questions during her lessons as she did not want to draw attention to herself in case anyone mentioned the scar on her face. Her teachers began to report that she was de-motivated and unhappy in lessons. The scores she was achieving in assessments began to decrease rapidly to the point that her progress had stopped in the majority of her subjects.

Student X became upset by her lack of progress and ended up in a cycle of self-hatred. She didn’t like that she was no longer top of the class and therefore stopped trying which meant she fell further behind in her studies and became even more upset and self-critical.

The bullies were all academically weaker than Student X and did not appear in any of her classes. They openly admitted their jealousy of Student X’s reputation at school and the opportunities that she had received due to her good grades. Their approach to school did not change during these incidents and they did not progress at a different rate to before or after the incidents.

Other students in the year group were affected by the bullying of Student X. There was universal disgust at the name calling that she received and a large outpouring of sympathy for her. A small group of girls tried to take Student X into their friendship group and provide moral support for her. Student X found it very difficult to accept any offer of friendship and was constantly worrying that the girls were setting her up to humiliate her at a later date. Over time Student X began to accept the friendship and it developed into a very positive experience for her.

A number of students disapproved of the name calling but enjoyed watching the reaction of Student X in these situations. When questioned about the incidents they would confirm that the bullying was unpleasant but did want to intervene because it was entertaining and they were worried it would happen to them if they said anything. The school had to address the issue of passive support for bullying and gave a number of PSHE lessons and assemblies on this theme.

The form tutor of Student X had to work very quickly to restore relationships amongst the girls in her tutor group as a number of the bullies were also in this group. Student X had refused the opportunity to confront the bullies but she did appreciate that the tutor was able to publically challenge their views on hypothetical situations and left the bullies and the bystanders in no doubt as to society’s views of bullying behaviour.

POINT OF VIEW OF VICTIM:

The following were the thoughts of the school council at this area special school for students with severe learning difficulties. They have been transcribed by staff

The students were very sad that a child had been treated in this way by people who did not really know them. They found the concept difficult to understand in reality as in their experience pupils from mainstream schools had always been kind to them.

Some of the pupils spoke of being frightened and they talked of the things they did when frightened for example running away, screaming, scratching themselves or throwing objects.

It was interesting that one pupil thought the bullies acted in the way they did because they were ‘mad’

The student council were unanimous in their understanding that if anyone made them sad they would tell their parent or a teacher.

Some pupils with autism had difficulty in perceiving that the pupils extreme reactions to provocation helped make the situation worse.

POINT OF VIEW OF BULLYING STUDENT(S):

Pupils with moderate learning difficulties were asked to role play the situation.

They spoke of having a laugh that got out of hand and not realizing the effect their behaviour was having. One person talked of getting his own back on someone for bullying he had received at a younger age.

It was suggested by one person that it was possible that many of the people involved might have been frightened to show disapproval in case it happened to them for being weak.

In general again it was difficult for pupils with complex special needs to put themselves in the place of the bullies. One person for instance said that if the incidents happened out of school they did not matter. Some others with autism found the concept of friendship difficult and continued to refer to victims and bullies alike as being friends despite the bullying behaviour.


POINT OF VIEW OF OTHER STUDENTS:

Students at our school were of the opinion that they would do everything they could to stop the victim being bullied. They have little experience of being able to directly intervene in any potential instances of bullying at Birch Wood due to the very high levels of staff supervision. It was interesting that if an incident was observed in the community, our pupils would ‘call a policeman’ rather than directly intervene.

POINT OF VIEW OF TEACHERS:

It would seem that the school had used a variety of strategies to address the problem. There is no doubt that once informed, the school acted promptly to hold the bullies to task and responsible for their behaviour.

There were initial sanctions against the bullies and a supportive system put in place to attempt to ensure the emotional well being of the victim.

The bullies parents were informed and their support to change behaviour was sought. It is a sadness that support from parents seems to have had little effect in this case and is a reflection of how sometimes parents no longer feel responsible for their children’s actions in society in general.

It is difficult to tell if there is a whole school approach to bullying, perhaps as part of a parental contract, where, if parents chose not to engage with school, more direct action e.g. Exclusion could have been considered.

The decline in academic progress is an especial sadness and the work of the pastoral tutor seems to be particularly strong in trying to re-establish those relationships amongst groups of pupils that contribute to sufficient well being to allow learning to take place.

POINT OF VIEW OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS:

It would seem to me that almost everything that could be done to support this young person, was. The example does not include any mention of the role of Headteacher within bullying procedures.

If such a serious complaint was made to school I would assume that the Headteacher would take a close monitoring role if not directly involved.

It is regrettable but true that in any large school, there will be a small number of pupils who believe this kind of anti social behaviour is acceptable.

I was disappointed on the school’s behalf however that many of those pupils on the periphery had reservations about the actions of others but chose to ‘go along with it’.

I would be keen to address a school culture where this is seen as an acceptable. It was heartening to see the potential long term effect of a group of friends for the victim. It is important to not leave relationships to chance but to deliberately plan in terms of formal Circles of Friends, ie building support around vulnerable people

POINT OF VIEW OF THE PARENTS OF THE PUPILS INVOLVED:

I am a parent of a child with moderate learning difficulties and also a parent governor at Birch Wood School. One of the reasons that I withdrew my child from a mainstream secondary school was because of bullying. My son was, as this young person was, made to feel a loner and almost suicidal just because he had mannerisms that were different from the majority of the other pupils. He too would shout and scream when it all got too much.

I therefore find it difficult to put into words the anger and despair that a parent feels when their child is abused in such a way. I even challenged both the bullies and their parents within the community, a situation which had to be resolved by the Police.

In this instance it is easy to say that the bullies should be punished severely and, having repeated the bullying despite warnings should be thrown out of the school. This would not however address the underlying issues of lack of understanding and ignorance of special needs or disability.

I was impressed by the time and effort that staff used to try and resolve the situation. This was certainly not my experience in another school.

POINT OF VIEW OF THE COUNSELLOR IN THE SCHOOL:

It appears the bullying could have been occurring for up to 18 months, a long time for a pattern to be set and challenged - School then faces a more difficult situation to address. School-wide strategies including anti-bullying posters around school and clarity on how to report and kinds of help available are important. Encouraging early intervention is also key. Knowledge is empowering.

‘Bullies’ have often been bullied and are passing on this learned behaviour, they need help too. Enforcing the monitoring of the bullies with consequences like exclusion might have helped. They knew they were ‘getting away with it’. Schools are such busy places and sometimes it’s hard to monitor students but this is important so young people don’t ‘slip through the net’.
Counselling is part of a wide picture of support in schools.

If I was the counsellor in this situation I would have encouraged the young person to seek help and support from the school immediately and discussed options with her:- checking who she felt she could tell, either by herself or for the counsellor could gain permission to speak to the relevant person, (eg. Child Protection Officer (CPO) and/or Pastoral Head). Sometimes the CPO is invited into a counselling session where the young person can feel supported and say what is happening.

I would also check out if any of her friends and family knew what was happening to her and see if a safety plan could be formulated so the young person would have some strategies of who to call if in trouble, or travel with friends so not be isolated.

Having and developing friends is important and it was good to note that this happened with her being included in a new group.
If she wanted, I would continue to work with her to express what is happening and out of that she might also develop some idea of how to manage her situation better for herself.

There seemed to be a misunderstanding here in that she didn’t know how counselling could help. The school could perhaps have been more encouraging of saying how counselling can help plus giving a leaflet/information etc. All the student said she wanted to do was forget, but that strategy wasn’t helping her. Sometimes a few minutes meeting with the counsellor in a ‘how counselling can help’ scenario is beneficial.

Helping the student identify needs and to whom, and how this can be communicated, can be important to feel supported, in addition to looking at academic support.

Also, if safeguarding issues arise, the counsellor would not agree to keep everything confidential, so liaising with the CPO and relevant staff and/or parents can be hugely beneficial. It is important for a young person not to be or feel let down by an adult in authority.

POINT OF VIEW OF POLICY MAKERS:

In this study the school has been very active to support the victim, however one or two observations from a LA Anti bullying perspective

 I would ask to look at the policy and how it was formulated with the involvement of the whole community including parents and young people, the wider community. Young people working to develop their own version of the policy and posters make them more meaning full. School council and AB teams also help get the messages across

 Also asking the young people to identify areas where bullying needs specific attention for example on school transport and then putting in specific support such as student monitors on the bus, working with transport providers.

 Another area I would expect in a policy would be clear procedures to support victims which were evident and would suggest that an informal counseling session would have been useful so Student X could decide whether it would help. Her strategies for coping were obviously not effective.

 A restorative approach was suggested, again I would ask whether this was well established within the school with qualified RJ staff. If a full conference was not appropriate then RJ could be used with perpetrators and victims separately. It might also be useful to use outside agencies such as police if they are trained.

 The bullies do seem to be monitored and worked with but there seems to be no clear evidence of a clear procedure for repeated bullying including if necessary exclusion. Involvement with parents was good.

 Work with bystanders needed but obviously PSHE and pastoral work and development of circle of friends seemed to be working. I agree with the counsellor about developing a safety plan.

 Follow up and time scales are also significant in this case. I would expect a clear reporting and monitoring of any reported incident to be followed through with some system of following up with parents once strategies are in place. In this incident parents seem to have been very patient. Student X did stop reporting after a while but bullying had not stopped

 Evaluation and changing strategies in light of incident would also be recommended.





CONCLUSIVE DEDUCTIONS:

Clearly this is a particularly difficult situation to resolve and it is interesting to note that it started around the transition from Primary to Secondary school. Eighteen months is too long for any child to be living in fear and the school must accept some of the responsibility for not nailing it down at the first attempt. In the school’s defense the response was at an appropriate level and the punishment (removing social time) would have been effective.

Student X clearly needed help. She was picked on but it appears she did “fan the flames” with her response to what would have been unpleasantness. She may well have refused counselling but counselling was certainly what she needed to provide her with the strategies to deal with the subsequent bullying language and behaviour of other students.

Clearly the moral ethos of the school led to many students finding this level of bullying behaviour outrageous. School (or was it Student X?) found this groundswell of feeling difficult to manage which is a shame as the message to the bullies was clear – They needed to conform to reasonable forms of behaviour. I would have suggested that this would have been the point where the bullies could have become candidates for a managed move to another local school.

SUMMARY OF THE CASE STUDY IN BULGARIAN LANGUAGE:

Външният вид е най-важното нещо.pdf

Comments about this Case Study


Date: 26.03.2012

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

Comparison :

We can notice, throughout the cases observed in the different participating countries, that the less physical defect (scars, smaller eye or bigger head than the average, obesity…) quickly becomes a target for a more or less serious bullying, on behalf of the other children.
Here, the length of the events (18 months) can partly be explained by the fact that the victim has refused any support from the school and has stopped to report the events. As soon as the school has been informed by the parents and by other pupils, it has taken several measures (sanctions, victim support, other pupils’ awareness, involvement of the parents…) but the most efficient one seemed to be the support by pairs (creation of a circle of friends around the victim). In Belgium, the “civic schools” movement develops this type of approach successfully. No doubt, it is not by chance if the movement particularly spreads in specialized education where the respect of ‘difference” and solidarity are key values which must be cultivated by all means.

Recommendations :

In the cases brought up in Belgium, some bullying events have lasted for long periods (up to 3 years in one of our cases). Even if in the present case the victim seems to have hidden the events, it is however amazing that nobody noticed anything earlier. However we notice that the more the events last, the more the damages can be serious, both for the victim and for the bully. So we must do everything to detect as soon as possible the problematic behaviours, included the victim’s attitudes that could favour the other pupils’ negative reactions (ex.: solitary, defensive, dominating attitude). That implies to make all the educative staff members aware of the problem.
In general, in the different participating countries, the measures taken by the school once the events are detected are important and efficient. The weak points are rather detection (that should be as early as possible) and prevention in order to prevent such events to occur again.
Beyond possible sanctions, the work to be carried out with the bully also deserves a great attention if we want to deeply modify one’s behaviour.

Relevance of teachers' training to cope with bullying:
The observation is more or less always the same: the teachers don’t feel skilled to face such situations, so they tend to think that it is not their role.
So they must be made aware of their own responsibilities and trained in an appropriate way. A school culture everybody feels concerned of and able to act at its level must be established with a dialog with all other actors (internal and external).

Date: 14.03.2012

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

It is sad but true that in any large school, there will be pupils who believe this kind of antisocial behaviour is acceptable.

The bullies do seem to be monitored and worked with but there seems to be no clear evidence of a clear procedure for repeated bullying including if necessary exclusion. In this incident parents seem to have been very patient. Student X did stop reporting after a while but bullying had not stopped; parents should have been more insistent in trying to stop this situation. Evaluation and changing strategies would also be recommended with parents as this is a particularly difficult situation to resolve and it is interesting to note that it started around the transition from Primary to Secondary school. Eighteen months is too long for any child to be living in fear and the school must accept some of the responsibility for not putting an end to it at the first attempt. The school should have settled severe punishment (removing social time) and that would have been effective.

Student X clearly needed help. She may well have refused counselling, but counselling was certainly what she needed to provide her with the strategies to deal with the subsequent bullying language and behaviour of other student. In such cases I would assume that the Headteacher would take a close monitoring role if not directly involved.

Support from parents seems to have had little effect in this case, and we have to admit that nowadays parents sometimes no longer feel responsible for their children’s actions in society in general. That’s why the school policy and the headteachers should be more strict and they should stop any attempt of bulling from the very beginning.

Date: 13.03.2012

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


THE FACT is narrated ENOUGH TO CONDUCT TOWN OF STUDENTS. UNFORTUNATELY IT IS EASY TO FIND THAT STUDENTS CONSIDER TAKING PROPER GAME OF WHO SEEMS TO BE DIFFERENT FOR PHYSICAL OR OTHER CAUSES.
I THINK THAT THE 'EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IS UNFORTUNATELY NOT ALWAYS ABLE TO LIMIT OR ISOLATE THESE PROBLEMS, BECAUSE, AS IF GIA'PRESENTATO, WHO SUFFERED SUCH BEHAVIOR OFTEN FEELS THE FEAR AND SHAME sue. IN ANY CASE, I BELIEVE THAT THE SCHOOL HAS NO IMMEDIATE OPPORTUNITY 'FOR DEALING WITH THESE FACTS, AS RELATIONS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS ARE LIMITED responsible. HOWEVER THINK THAT IF THE QUESTION IS SOMETIMES MORE OFTEN THAN THAT FILED BY STUDENTS SUFFER ACTS OF BULLYING AND MUST NECESSARILY WORK TO REDUCE THE CAUSES.
IN MY JUDGEMENT, THE LIGHT OF 'EXPERIENCE, I BELIEVE SHOULD TAKE ACTION DEVELOPED THROUGH AN EDUCATIONAL COURSE ON TWO LINES, THE FIRST TO THE FAMILY, THE SECOND IN' SCOPE OF SCHOOL FOR THE 'CLEAR AND EDUCATIONAL FUNCTION FORMATICA THAT CARRIES THE SAME IN SOCIETY. It is QUITE OBVIOUS THAT THE FAMILY, IF THERE IS A CASE OF BULLYING, IS VERY ABSENT, OR FOR SOCIAL CAUSES OR OTHER CASES, SUCH AS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE 'COMMITMENT TO BUSINESS, THE' EXCESS OR THEIR PARENTS leadership of the belief that it is SUFFICIENT TO EDUCATE THEIR CHILDREN summarily.
THE SCHOOL, ITS PART TO RECEIVE THESE EVENTS OF BULLYING THAT, UNFORTUNATELY, THEY ARE BROUGHT TO KNOW THAT OCCURRED ONLY AFTER REPEATEDLY L 'ACT OF BULLYING. THIS INVOLVES DIFFICULT TO MEET EMERGENCIES AND PROBLEMS TO COMMUNICATE PROPERLY WITH THE FAMILY, OFTEN THE REALITY OF OUR EDUCATION INSTITUTE ABSENT.
THINK THEREFORE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A 'JOINT ACTION WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND FIRST OF PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIAL SERVICES TO SUPPORT THE SCHOOL AND FAMILY TRAINING FOR ACHIEVING CONCRETE SCHOOL STAFF WITH THE ACTIONS OF A TEAM OF STUDENTS TO PSICCOLOGI .
'S LAST STRATEGY IS CURRENTLY IN PLACE IN OUR SCHOOL, EVEN IF THE FIRST RESULTS ARE STILL NOT QUITE POSITIVE.
NOTWITHSTANDING THINK POSITIVE AGAIN IN THIS DIRECTION.
I BELIEVE THAT LEAD TO OTHER STUDENTS RECEIVE THE BOYS THAT IS POSITIVE bullied WHY MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO GROW The WHO SUFFERS THE ESTEEM OF BULLYING.
IT SHOULD ALSO BE A TEAM OF TEACHERS IN SUPPORT OF ALL THE TEACHERS AND STAFF OF THE SCHOOL, REGARDLESS OF THE TRAINING SCHOOL FOR ALL WORKERS.

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: MAURIZIO FERULLO
Type of school: vocational school: HOTELS AND CATERING
Country: Italy

q Compare your personal experience with the Case Study you are commenting on:
· Elements in common there are not personal experiences similar to this
· Elements not in common (please specify, according to your opinion, which differences are related to variations in educational systems or cultural differences) Our education system does not provide a team of experts to assist the student the subject of bullying.
· Please specify where you would have found the main support and/or difficulties to deal with this bullying scenario (eg: educational administration, school staff, parents, training, time and space available…) the training of teachers and the help of experts who can give directions on how to interact with those affected by bullying.
· What can you learn from this case study? That unfortunately young people, when in a group become ruthless, and we must act on their own with proper awareness to protect the more vulnerable.
q Recommendations as an expert in this type of Case Study
· What would you recommend to deal with (ie stop and prevent) bullying/cyberbullying events like this in your school? Please outline two concrete strategies you have implemented in your school. Are there strategies in this Case Study you would like to see implemented in your school? In my school no bullying strategies had been put into practice. I would suggest a profound reflection on the good fortune to be born healthy, with no disfigurement or physical impairment and that we must accept the less fortunate
q Relevance of teachers’ training to cope with bullying/cyberbullying events
· Please mention what training you would like to receive to improve the way you deal with this kind of episode. It would be useful training done by psychologists which show how to deal with bullies is that with those affected by bullying.

Date: 07.03.2012

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

In our course in 6th grade we have a student who because of their weight was the center of frequent teasing. I do not know from where came from, but last year I decided to tutor his return not happen. I noticed that the days they had physical education class did not come to class claiming an illness. All that meant physical effort or games in pairs or groups was considered for a trauma. No partner wanted to be his partner and did not want in your group. This meant also a problem: missing both classes were increased academic problems.
First I talked to her mother about the importance of school attendance, physical exercise and interact with their peers. That's when I said some students in the class took advantage of the network "Twenty" to say insults and laugh at his girth. We ensure that the student who were the companions confessed that he did that and started with talks in recess to those who attacked him. Also I thought about the importance of the whole class realized what was happening in order to raise awareness and enlist the help of one of them. In that way one day in the tutoring session I put a movie that they loved "Kung Fu Panda", then work on the subject matter and I think most understood why he did it. Since then the reactions were good and many kids in the class began to ask him to play with him. But the harassment continued on the net so I had to call the parents of the bullies. All they cared about what happened and said they would take steps at home for Internet use was not an instrument of torture to other peers.
No doubt the strategies used in this case are similar to those of the study: to show the students that they can trust their caregivers and the need to tell us what happens to them to fix it, talk to everyone involved and involve rest to help those most in need. Another really important strategy is coordination with other teachers. We must all be vigilant and work to make the life of this student in the center easier. In part that we have achieved with the help this year of the new physical education teacher. She has set out to do some activities in which all participate and play for the first time in seven years, this student does not miss PE classes Well not only approves but does not lack good grades. With this we have managed to increase his self-esteem and feel better about yourself all the companions they are happy regardless of their appearance.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Pilar Guisado Rico
Type of school: Secundary School
Country: Spain

Comparative analysis
Personally, the case most similar to that described here, is a student with special educational needs, which for reasons of incompatibility of schedule with the Hall Support / educational support, attend all my classes. Is a student with a graduate level of primary (currently enrolled in 3 º ESO), but their effort and their ability to excel, are far superior to that of other same age peers (excellent results). This would be the glue to the case study, the ability to overcome great showing (within limits) and the differences that may exist with other classmates. In the beginning, has always been part of the group, and like the girl in the case, you have partners who help in the classroom, and collaborate with it. However, some time was distracted in class, and made comments out of the place that came to be rude.
Well, after several days, the student has acknowledged that some classmates the "forced" to speak in that tone, and everything to provoke laughter from the rest of the group. As in the case, have partners that are supporting them and in which he has taken refuge to avoid back to sit next to her students that bothered.
It is obvious that this student, (unlike the case), has had the courage to confront the problem, and has been able (despite its difficulties) to stand up to such abuse in the classroom, whose sole purpose was to ridicule. The first step he took, was talking to some teachers, then with her companions, and finally with his parents, who quickly contacted Guidance, as well as being immediate action appears to be in effect until now. This is a family very involved with her daughter's education (especially for its difficulties) and collaborating with the center in everything that they face. Students mentioned that she indeed admitted having forced to do so, and has imposed a correction being met, the first and most important publicly apologize for the incorrect class action with the companion.
Recommendations
The actions undertaken in this case have been quite effective, so do not conduct further recommendation that already described in the previous section. As for advice on actions proposed in the case, the so-called "safety plan" is quite interesting because the girl can rely on a trusted person in case of help. Also, if the case set out above would, I think that the idea of changing students 'bullies' center is not far-fetched, since they would be harassing a person with a mental disability. All this, of course, I think it should be accompanied by monitoring of Social Affairs, or any such organization, that does not extend harassment in retaliation for the change of heart.
Training
At this point, it is quite difficult to talk about training, because the courses offered, they are still fairly theoretical. Today in the centers, we try to solve these problems from common sense, and always with the support and collaboration of counselors, who often make some work specimens.

Date: 29.02.2012

Posted by: Radka Bubarova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

When I read this case I think of a similar one in my class /ІХ/. It concerns a boy who is 16 years old, has no friends and isolates himself from the other. He has a small motive problem and he has difficulties writing. Apart from this he is very diligent and disciplined. His grades are very good, close to excellent. He is never absent from classes. He is active in all tasks I assign, but I have never seen him smile. He responds to his classmates only when they tease him /through some jokes, mocking/ and after that comes to me and tells me what happened. In contrast with the presented case, his reaction is not dramatic, but angry and when he speaks with me he does not hide the bullies, but identifies them. Usually I only reprimand the teasers. The situation is quite complex for me because:
- The parents do not discuss the problem of their child and I am therefore not able to take a position, to speak with them and ask them about the actual situation their son is in. I have tried indirectly, during parents’ meetings, to stress upon the fact that I, as form tutor, should know about the health conditions of all children, if such exist. The other side however always responds with total silence. I am not sure if they are not aware of the existence of the problem or they refuse to accept it. This situation is different from the one commented.
- I think that he does not share his problems in his family. I am afraid to ask him – another difference to the case above.
- The reprimands I direct towards the teasers calm the situation down only temporarily, because after awhile everything starts all over again. In this class there is no one who can protect him.
- If the parents try to disclose their son’s problem, the situation would have evolved differently – like in the commented case. We would have taught him or to be more precise – help him how to become integrated in the class and to come out of this isolation from the other students. We would have taught the others how to accept him and stop with the bullying.
- Something which impressed me in this case study was the strong trust in the school institution and how the parents rely on the active involvement of the specialists. In our educational system this is missing to a great extent.
- We have no sanctions, alas this is probably not the best way to curb bad behavior and inhuman attitude.
- It is necessary to teach the students (victims) that the problems should be solved and not avoided, as with X’s case, who refuses to meet the bullies. This case is really very delicate, because the emotions are really deep.
- The intervention from the teacher is correct – informing the parents of the bullies and inviting them for a meeting. I have done the same in the case of my student.
- In our school the approach is more or less the same (the students, the parents and the pedagogic advisor are engaged), but probably there are some differences between the engaged structures.
- In conclusion I could say everything, which is already well known – that callousness and inhuman attitude are becoming more and more popular. I think that the contacts between students, parents, teachers and psychologists are missing. The children are loved less. They get less attention, which presupposes their negative attitude in order to become IMPORTANT.

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