"I Am Not Scared" Project
The social background - source of bullying
A conflict was generated between two 9th graders during the second term of the school year 2010 – 2011.
The conflict started with an exchange of sharp remarks and insults, based on their place of origin: urban versus rural regions.
This social marginalization took the form of some types of violence: verbal, emotional (challenging, bullying).
The types of violence present in this case were verbal and emotional.
In order to reconcile/ prevent these kinds of conflicts have been carried out a series of activities focused on identifying the appropriate solutions for dealing with potential conflicts, developing social skills, building prosocial behaviours, enhancing personal development, and designing negotiation methods and instruments.
Among these, we mention:
“Anger Management” – group activities enabled us to identify the alternative solutions, encouraging at the same time group cohesion and development of positive attitudes, such as patience, tolerance, co-operation etc... All in all they helped students to better manage the tense situations.
“Coping with social problems” – interactive debate which showed the readiness of the parties involved for looking for solutions and actions meant to prevent and fight against violence and aggressive behaviours.
„Developing skills for an efficient conflict resolution” –this activity gives the students the opportunity to both analyse themselves and reflect on their own reactions in different situations and contexts.
„Violence and its effects”
“Communication as a source of school violence” – the activity aimed at improving communication among people, creating positive climate and relationships and agreeing on conflict mediation measures (students-students, students – teachers, teachers – parents, parents - students).
Strategies for dealing with violence at the school level
Create a data base with the students whose parents work abroad and their monitoring;
Ensure an efficient communication through different media with the parents left abroad, by providing them with information on their children, form teachers or school counsellors.
Prepare and complete a file for students’ absences monitoring;
Create a compensation system for students with the fewest unmotivated absences, compliments in the school assembly etc.;
Trainings on this topic for form teachers, developed at the school level, by the teachers who completed the special training programme, known as “TIV”, in collaboration with the school counselor.
Administer questionnaires to students in order to identify the existing forms of violence.
Ensure safety and security by installing a central locking system and personalized card access into the school premises.
Involve at least 50 % of students in extra-school activities;
Involve students who are likely to develop violent behaviour or who have committed violent acts in contests and projects on violence, counseling programmes organized in partnership with the school and other specialized institutions (POLICE, local authorities, the Church, NGOs specialized in programmes for child and youth protection and education);
Encourage students to take up volunteering. In this way, they can develop a feeling of solidarity and team work skills;
Raise awareness among parents by encouraging their participation in courses like “Parents’ school” (ro. „Şcoala părinţilor” );
Promote the counseling activities for parents organized within the Organization “Save the Children!” (ro. « Salvaţi Copiii »);
Develop a school – family partnership by involving the family in different extra-school activities.
Debates, meetings on school violence in Students’ Assembly and Parent Meetings.
The conflict situation had a negative impact on the students who were directly involved, students who were present, and on the school, as well. Also, the conflict has had a negative impact on the students’ parents.
The teacher who witnessed the conflict immediately put an end to the conflict. He explained the differences between the two students from an objective point of view.
The role of the school counselor was to take over the case and to carry on the counseling of both students and parents, giving them the possibility to integrate them in groups, so as to avoid discrimination.
After the case has been analyzed, the students have been informed on the internal rules according to the school national regulations during teachers’ and parent meetings.
At the school level, we will carry out activities on inclusive education and education for a democratic citizenship. The target group will contain students having displayed physical or verbal violent behavior. The activities will be organized by qualified people having been trained on this topic, in collaboration with the school counselor.
Even if the conflict occurred during a common conversation, social differences made the students have different opinions. Thus, the dialogue turned into an exchange of sharp replies.
The conflict was ameliorated by a teacher who interrupted the argument. Additionally, the school counselor, the form teacher and the parents were involved in finding the best way to solve the conflict.
The inappropriate behavior and vocabulary might have been generated by poor education and social environment.
After having analyzed the conflict, the students reconsidered the argument and expressed their regrets about the incident.
As the instance of violence was short and readily solved by one teacher, the other teachers were only informed on the mishap in order to prevent similar events from occurring.
As a form teacher I have always tried to get acquainted with the students’ environment and acknowledge the risks they are exposed to. Thus, I informed all the interested parties (school counselor, headmaster, parents) on the case, so as to find the appropriate solution.
School manager considers that the teacher, who stopped the conflict, followed the appropriate steps for conflict resolution.
Having well and timely informed about the situation, the parents worked together with the people involved (students, form teacher, school counselor) in combating the effects and solving the conflict. Considering the cooperation and partnership between parents and school, the school image was not affected at all.
The school counselor declared having approached the case as soon he was informed on it. He took all the necessary measures to assist both students and parents in order to help them to pass over the unpleasant moment and to give them possibility to integrate in the school community.
The school counselor also acknowledged having been given unconditioned support by the other involved parties.
Decision makers such as the police, school inspectorate or NGOs have developed preventive/ informative actions in order to fight against school violence. These activities have been undertaken in collaboration with the school at both form teachers’ and school counselor’ request.
Although the school is located in an area with a high risk of social vulnerability, we have not experienced severe violent instances. We have been very active in implementing measures for reducing and preventing school violence.
In our attempt to cope with school violence, we worked together with different institutions such as Regional Centre for Drug Prevention and Counseling (ro. Centrul Regional de Prevenire şi Consiliere Antidrog Iaşi, Department for Child Protection, Iași Police Inspectorate, “Save the Children” Organisation, Iasi County Center for Pshychopedagogical Assistance, “Solidarity & Hope” Foundation (Fundaţia “Solidaritate Şi Speranţă”) etc.
At present, we are developing the project “Youth against violence”, which was implemented by the organisation “Save the Children” in may 2010. The dissemination of information about the activities within the project have been carried out periodically and included all the forms of education (including day or evening courses). For this activity, we have sent reports to the project coordinator.
The impact of these activities on students has been significant. The number of instances of violence at the end of the school year 2009-2012 was lower than at the end of the previous school year.
We highly appreciate our colleagues (form teachers and school psychologist) efforts who have succeeded in concentrating students’ energy towards an appropriate behaviour, by encouraging them to participate in extra-school volunteering.
The process of reducing violence have also been facilitated by the school security system.
All in all, we think that it has been worth making all the above observations because despite the risky school location, the school has not been exposed to violence and we have not recorded no instance of violence so far.
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I Am Not Scared Project
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