"I Am Not Scared" Project
BULLYING - A LESSON JUST SHOULDN’T BE LEARNED
The conflict situation took place on the second semester of the 2010-2011 school year, when two students of the 10th class were involved in a violent exchange of words, with serious consequences on the personal integrity of one of the actors involved in this conflict.
This conflict led to the development of various activities aimed at solving and preventing similar conflicts. Among these, we can mention the following activities:
Safety in our school – we worked to provide improvements to the internal school regulations, to the regulations of the foreign person’s access within the school, pupils and parents council involvement to achieve the distinctive signs for pupils of the school, investigating risk factors for violence. The activity took place simultaneously during the hours of counseling and guidance to all primary and secondary classes.
Effective communication and conflict approach – enforcement of Law 272/2004 on the protection and promotion of child rights.
Phenomenon of violence in general and in school in particular – applying questionnaires to students and parents to track conflict situations and assessment of the degree to which students feel safe.
Violence – a lesson just shouldn’t be learned – activity that attempted to prevent juvenile delinquency, violence and conflict. This activity was carried out by organizing debates / discussions in the classes and counseling with students and parents, approaching various themes: negative implications for the psycho-affective development of children who have parents working abroad, the risks of a disadvantaged social environment (absenteeism, drop out, school failure, behavioral problems). At school level, the strategies used to combat violence and conflicts among students were the following:
- to set up a working group with the role of coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the activity included in the school's anti-violence strategy.
- active involvement of representatives of local police.
School counselor organized and coordinated a resource center in the field of school violence, with the role of information, training, mediation and assistance on matters related to school violence. It has been developed a program of individual assistance for students, teachers and parents involved (perpetrators or victims) which followed the consequences of violence awareness, improved self-image of the actors involved, prevention of negative effects, autonomy development and self control.
According to expert studies conducted in recent years, we see that parents are no longer the only source of information for children, the technological development, print and general media sources have provided a growing range of methods of information for children and adolescents. For this reason, adolescents are exposed to a series of violent events that can be internalized by them, often causing irrecoverable and undesirable changes at mental level.
For this reason, we believe that this conflict had an impact on everyone involved, either directly or indirectly. Consequently, our school has focused on the establishment of strict security measures in order to prevent violence and unusual events, aimed at introducing special lessons to discuss the negative effects of violence to students.
Within hours of counseling and guidance, to our school students have been given alternative settlement of disputes, and civilized discussions and, where appropriate, the school counselor actively participated in the resolution of any conflicts. As a high school with a diverse school population, we have implemented programs to integrating minorities in education, so that the discrimination to be avoided.
Also, during the meetings with parents, teachers and school counselor they tried to aware of the acute exposure of children to negative emotional events loaded with large amount of news transmitted through media. During these meetings, we tried to aware parents to be more open to discussions of this kind so that children can feel safe in the family. Moreover, parents were advised not to expect to be initiated discussions about violence by children, but on each occasion when they have contact with this type of information to express their feelings openly or disapproval.
After the conflict, the two students were interviewed by their teacher on the causes that led to the incident. The reason given by the two actors of the conflict was a financial liability that one owed the other students. Following discussions with the two students, their teacher found that the basis of this conflict stood an old conflict started between the students, which wasn’t known so far. Because the two students haven’t communicated to their parents, teacher or school counselor about the situation, they could not be advised, reaching thus to this conflict.
In order to solve the conflict, the professor of the two students talked with their parents, settling by mutual agreement, that the two students to attend counseling sessions in the presence of a parent and also individual counseling sessions. Understanding the gravity of their actions and the increasing degree of this conflict, students have kindly agreed to participate in counseling sessions, hoping that this will be able to reach a peace settlement.
After the conflict, students still had aggressive behavior toward each other, only at verbal level. They continued to blame on the person who started the conflict and who fueled the dispute and also who carried out the most of the blame. Gradually, they realized the gravity of their actions and the uncivilized and inappropriate way to solve problems or misunderstandings.
They argued further that the real reason that led to the conflict was financial misunderstanding which later degenerated into that violent conflict in front of the school. Students involved have held discussions with school counselor, their teacher and also their parents were invited to school to discuss with teachers to reach the best strategy to end the conflict.
Finally, students have realized how to deal with this situation and that was fundamentally wrong and that they were needlessly exposed to an unfortunate situation and that the whole situation could have had a much more tragic end. They realized also that the first step must done to resolve differences is to assume the facts and to regret, even late, what happened. Consequently, they apologized to each other and have promised to try to resolve disputes through diplomacy, communication and tact for now.
The other students who participated indirectly in this conflict have been interviewed in connection with the conflict and its causes. The interviews focused on two categories of students: classmates of those directly involved in the conflict and those who were present at the consummation of the conflict itself in front of the school. First, were interviewed the students who witnessed the conflict in front of the school.
They then discussed with the school counselor and class teachers and head teachers from the school. Statements were taken, students expressed their views and submitted details and elements that could have count in the end to a decision. On the other hand, classmates of the students who were directly involved in conflict were interviewed by the teacher tutor.
On anonymous papers, each student expressed their views regarding the conflict in question. They expressed their views regarding the reason / reasons which has / have led to the challenge of conflict come to the main actors, the manner in which they have handled this situation. Openly discussed during the time of counseling and guidance about the conflict, the presence of the two students directly involved, at which all school students expressed their views on how to deal with this situation, the behavior of their colleagues directly involved and to their seriousness.
Teachers who were directly involved in conflict had an objective attitude towards the conflict situation. They do not resort directly to punish violent students, but tried to understand the situation as a whole, to discuss with the actors involved and to identify the reasons that led to this situation. Teachers talked to all students who participated directly or indirectly to the conflict, the psychologist teachers advised the two aggressive students and the teachers promptly intervened when they figure that the situation degenerates.
As a result of the teacher council which was organized, it was decided to postpone taking a penalty until all the details will be known, reasons and causes that triggered the conflict. It was decided that it is more important that students realize that their actions were reprehensible.
School board has actively participated in conflict resolution. Students who have started the incident was called in the office of school director, together with their parents, where they were invited to speak freely about the reasons which led them to commit these grave actions, to submit their views and, finally, tried to find a path of reconciliation and amicable settlement.
The director explained to students how they deal with this situation was wrong and that students should have had appealed to teachers, school counselor or principal if they were aware that their situation is beyond on control. Students also were advised that they must learn to take responsibility for their actions and that, after an internal investigation on the situation of the conflict in question, students will be punished according to its rules of procedure of the school.
In addition, the school board called an emergency council teachers where he discussed the incident and where students have analyzed the facts and the measures to be taken to suppress any similar situations.
Parents were involved directly in resolving this conflict. Immediately after the conflict itself, parents of pupils involved in the conflict were invited to participate in making the best decisions regarding their children. First, parents have discussed with the student’s teacher and have told them how the events took place and what degree of verbal and physical violence during the conflict was reached. Also, parents accompanied the students in the office of director where they participated in discussions between students and the school board.
The parents agreed to participate with students in counseling sessions where they tried to understand their behavior and why children become involved in such violent situations, where the school counselor tried to force students to realize the seriousness of the their facts and to lead them to correct their behavior in order to develop peaceful behaviors. Over time, parents were more closely and controlled their children behavior, also participated in parent’s councils and all school activities like combating physical violence in school and behavioral modeling of adolescents, or other activities.
School counselor actively participated in solving this conflict. Initially, he met in parallel with both students involved. But also conducted separate sessions of counseling, inviting the two students to present the reasons which had prompted them to resort to such behavior, previous relationship had, not only related to conflicts, also the relationship with other students of the class, their opinions and any regrets.
Then, students attended counseling sessions accompanied by a parent. School counselor tried to identify the reasons that led the students to such facts, if there is a family violence situations (physical, verbal, psychological, etc..), if the parents support, guide and correct their child's school activities not only in terms of results in education, but also in terms of behavior within the school and everyday life. It was identified that parents supervise their children and that this deviant behavior was more influenced by a negative environment.
The conflict between the two students was not mediated because the school board didn’t wanted evidence of such behavior. However, the hours of counseling and guidance from each class discussed the impact that these situations can have on each individual's personality. Students were placed in similar situations of conflict, being invited to submit reasons that would cause to resort to such behavior, the manner in which such conflict could be avoided, etc.
In addition, the school board, the school counselors and teachers were involved in the development of partnerships with local police representatives. In this regard, during the hours of counseling and guidance, but also during activities organized exclusively for this purpose, local police representatives were invited to prevent and combat violence in school and society by raising students on behaviors to be adopted when dealing with conflict situations.
Students were also trained in terms of anti-crime and anti-victim, being constantly involved in all programs and activities conducted in school. Attempts thus creating a real and effective communication between school authorities and families by identifying, monitoring and prevention of bullying situations, involving all educational factors.
Our high school was always involved in preventing these violent situations and in the implementation of concrete measures aimed at reducing the number of cases of violence, also to educate students to a civilized and appropriate behavior. For this reason, we believe that the best way to achieve our goals is to work together with all those involved in shaping character and personality of the people of tomorrow: students, teachers, school counselors, parents, local police and representatives of civil society, and the school board.
For this reason, our school continually developing partnerships with local police, frequently organize meetings with parents to familiarize our students with behavior not only at school but also outside the school or within the family. Always appeal to the children parents support and communication and constantly involve them in activities with their children. We are interested in their opinion and their objective advice can help us to address in a concrete manner to different situations.
We believe that gradually there will be no such conflict situations and that our students will realize that dialogue, open communication and honest to the other are the best "weapons" to stop the violent and negative behaviors.
Comments about this Case Study
I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2017 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission