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Case Studies


Cases of abuse from older students to new students

  • Direct bullying
  • Indirect bullying
  • Homophobic

For the academic authorities, including the headmaster, it was a tradition that must be respected and honored, because it is part of the history of the college. It does not matter if many students react with insults and humiliations. Like those which Matthias (the name is fictional) had to suffer twice: as a 1-year student and a homosexual. With great effort, he managed to pass the first year in college on one of the most prestigious ones on national level. During these years the newly admitted students suffer from bullying carried out by older students organized in bands protected in the name of tradition. Even some criminal trports and withdrawals by some weaker students were able to make a more civilized student spirit that can take on the characteristics of the legalized stalking.
Mattia, 18, agrees to tell his story as long as you do not reveal his identity and the name of the college, in a medium-sized city, in central Italy. "I have to stay here for many years, I cannot stand the consequences of an abuse like this," he confesses, "even though everyone, including the headmaster, are aware of these practices." When he joined this college - essential for him, given that the family can not pay for an accommodation - only he could not imagine what he would encounter. He had heard the jokes reserved for those attending the first year by "culisti" as they are called the protagonists of the jokes. On the Internet and forums, the worst experiences were listed. But he never imagined that, in some cases, you would have far exceeded the limit of the trick to become physical violence.
The bullying system usually activates a few weeks after opening the college in September. "During the first few months it is unlikely to be able to sleep for a whole night. From the blitz in the room to punishment in groups.Every night, the 1-year students are required to report in the so-called 'room in the ass', and where they must endure without resistance . And 'this is the golden rule of student spirit: never rebel, otherwise you risk isolation. " "Once we have gathered in this room, from one night to seven in the morning, locked in the room with the doors open. It was November and cold. Every half hour someone came to us and bathed with fire extinguishers. Someone enjoyed dropping hot wax on the hands of students. " On that occasion, they asked Matt if he was gay. I asked in the manner of one who believes that a homosexual should be doubly "punished" with teasing and public humiliation. He denied it, but this did not skip him months of insults.


As the months passed, Matthias began to look for points of reference outside that gang of bullies. "There was a time when I decided to react, not to 'play' over and stop completely collegial relationships with those, the majority. I started, basically, to change the time of dinner, when the dining room was nearly empty, to avoid any harassment. it 'was then that I met some people who, now, after one year, have become among my closest friends. "The self-induced isolation for his own survival, said Matthias: "It allowed me to find friends that I have hosted nights out of college, so the last months of escaping punishment."


After some time, Mathias has found within himself the strength to fight, accepting his homosexuality and taking refuge in the peer group outside the institution.


"Don't mind, is part of this institution for decades, you have to endure, as they have endured", is the most frequent response is received seeking solace in the staff college. The headmaster supports those who are real phenomena of hazing. And the fact that Matthias is gay offers the partners the opportunity to have a pretext to persecute him heavily. The student spirit is interwoven with homophobic bullying. "Being homosexual has expanded the possibilities of hitting - said Matthias - I gave them the opportunity to tell me of the heavy things related to my sexuality, obviously things that a heterosexual would not have said"


The bullies have never considered the seriousness of their actions, but on the contrary, they considered the whole experience a source of pride for the bystanders.


Defending a victim of homophobic actions threatens to turn into a boomerang in which the offense of homosexuality is extended over all, with serious consequences for those who need to establish meaningful relationships within the context of a new school


There was no involvement of teachers


The headmaster, though he knew everything, had never taken a position with respect to the action of bullies


The victim's family has had a marginal role in the story as it has never been informed of the event


No counsellors were present in the school


Public authorities did not intervene


Homophobic bullying is different from the common forms of bullying for many reasons.
1) The bully always call into question a nuclear dimension of psychological and sexual self.
2) The victim may face particular difficulties to seek help for adults (afraid to draw attention to their sexuality, with their feelings of anxiety and shame, and fear of disappointing the expectations of parents). Among other things, the same teachers and parents can sometimes have prejudices omonegativi, from which various consequences: rejection reactions that lead to underestimate or deny the events, with concern for '"abnormality" of the child, its intentions to "cure "expulsive attitude that adds to the dynamics of persecution.
3) The child victim may face particular difficulties in identifying figures of support and protection among his peers. The number of potential "defenders of the victim" falls into homophobic bullying, "defending a fag" carries the risk of being considered homosexual.

Comments about this Case Study

Date: 25.03.2012

Posted by: Tania Neykova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

This case is very unfortunate indeed. It was really disturbing to see that there was no adequate response implemented in this case. It seems that everyone knows about the problem but no one actually dares to do anything. The bullied students have to present their fears to the management of the school and to their families to get wide support and adequate therapy. Only opening up would enable them to get the help they need and to put an end to the bullying events. We have not encountered cases such as this one in our institution. Tolerance is an important topic to be discussed with students and teachers.

Date: 16.03.2012

Type of school: Vocational School, GRUP SCOLAR ECONOMIC DE TURISM - IASI
Country: ROMANIA

It is true that life is harsh and it is difficult to handle such situations especially when you are on your own. However, being a college student should be perceived as a great accomplishment and not as a burden. He should not feel that he is in some kind of a jungle where he has to fight for his life and his rights. It is also true that playing tricks on the new commerce is like an unwritten law and most of us went through this. That doesn’t mean these hilarious situations should become more dramatic, sometimes even tragic, because they could affect you both physically and psychically. Teachers and guardians should be more involved in students lives even after the lectures.

Running away from your problems is not a permanent solution. If I were in his place, I would try to get into contact with someone from the university to explain the difficult situation I was facing. I don’t think that I wouldn’t find understanding.

Teachers should have taken further actions in order to put an end to this stressful situation, even though they have their own opinions related to homosexuality. In fact, the sexual status shouldn’t have anything to do with the educational achievements. On the other hand, I think that this choice should remain a private one.
The harassers should be punished one way or another, but, in fact, they themselves are victims of the education they got from home or of the bad influence from the environment.

Being a teacher involves a series of responsibilities that exceed the level of providing information related to a certain domain. It means establishing a special relationship with the students, a relationship which is based on trust, respect and empathy from both sides. Teachers should assume the role of trainers who should be deeply concerned about the personalities they have to form. The students often take their teachers as role models, they are like a sponge always in need to absorb not only dry information but also reactions and ideas. What should they learn from this rector? That sometimes it is advisable to close your eyes in front of challenging situations or to pretend that there is nothing wrong???

Unfortunately, parents are generally the last to know about their son/daughter’s sexual choices, maybe because they couldn’t establish a proper relationship with their children. Consequently, they don’t feel the need to tell them ’the big news’ because they are aware of their parents’ opinions and reactions towards this touchy subject. In the end, all of them will suffer, parents, teachers, young adults, the society in general.

My opinion is that the role of the counselors is, unfortunately, not generally admitted in the educational institutions or in every company which involves working with people. An active participation of the counselors would definitely solve a lot of problems of various types: sexual, moral, religious, social, and so on.

Public authorities should be actively involved and should be deeply concerned about the problems the members of the community are facing with, by undergoing a series of programmes whose main purpose is integrating people with different problems or affiliations in society.

Date: 15.03.2012

Type of school: Vocational School, GRUP SCOLAR ECONOMIC DE TURISM - IASI
Country: ROMANIA

Reading this case study my mind went back to a 19th century film where such traditions were very strictly observed. I have seen many films and I have read many books dealing with life in a college for boys and where such practices were accepted.

Every time a new student was humiliated they called it tradition and history of the college.
I am glad that there is not such a tradition here in Romania or in our town (or at least I haven’t heard of such cases).

It is not normal that a famous college accepts the humiliation and the psychological torture of the new students. How can academic authorities agree to such horrible things? These insults and humiliations affect a student for the rest of his life. In addition, when the sexual inclination is taken into consideration the situation is even more dramatic. Discrimination is a trauma which very few can bear.

Every student has to find in the college he has chosen a friendly atmosphere, nice classmates and caring teachers. But during the first few months he realizes that the most important thing in school is bullying new students and trying to find more and more humiliating situations for them.

The role of the teacher is not seen in this study. The headmaster should have asked the group of bullies to stop acting in such a violent way only in the name of tradition.

There are no strategies to fight violence in school. The students do not feel safe and the college does not have a psychological counselor.

In my opinion this type of case should have been signaled to the police and then to the student’s parents. Even if the student under discussion feels embarrassed of his situation, his parents had to be informed. They were the only persons who could help him overcome that situation.

On the other hand, the teachers in this school are not trained to face this case o extreme violence. They do not react because maybe they do not know what to do. These cases are a source of stress for the teachers and they feel demoralized.

Each school should have a programme for preventing and fighting violence and at the same time teachers should make students aware of the social environment they live in. Students have to be taught to admit that people are different, that they may have different sexual inclinations. I think the boys are more reluctant in accepting this situation. And of course the education they get in their families plays an important role in their actions.

Date: 14.03.2012

Type of school: „CONSTANTIN PĂUNESCU” School for children with special needs, IAŞI
Country: ROMANIA

As to the situation presented in this case, it is regrettable to know that the tradition and promotion of this type of behavior has been continually supported because it is part of the school’s history. The silent acceptance of these phenomena, together with the absence of measures that would control the situation, makes it almost impossible to prevent or stop them from happening. The abuse, offenses and humiliation that Matei was forced to deal with could have been prevented or stopped by the principal, teachers, school counselor or other participants.

Also, the fact that these groups are protected by people on the highest level of administration stops other students that would have wanted to help, from intervening. Matei was actually left without resources, without a person to ask for help, having his options limited from the beginning because it was mandatory for him to pass through the hazing that is usually received by newer students. Moreover, the prejudice against his sexual orientation lead to some restraint on the part of students who might have wanted to help him, because they did not want to be considered homosexuals themselves.

Matei’s attitude, the self imposed isolation and his identifying a solution outside the university had a positive impact on himself and on his situation because, not only did he manage to escape his aggressors, but also make close friends.
Ideally, there would have been a real support from the university administration, the teachers, the specialists and other people capable of making decisions.

In conclusion, the management of aggression and violence must be approached in a formative manner, through training programs, but also through interventions for the prevention and containment of violence. Both these approaches need to take into account the victim , the aggressor as well as the third party.

The conflict solving programs help us detect aggressive behavior in its early stages and understand the steps we need to take in order to facilitate solving the problem . Expressing violence and aggression in ones behavior is related to social influence, which pushes us to take measures in this sense, starting with limiting the quantity and intensity of violence in the media and finishing with informing the parents, the police officers, the teachers, the psychologists, the doctors and other social actors who would cooperate in the peaceful solving of a conflict .

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Elisabetta Solinas
Type of school: Tecnical School
Country: Italia

The school is in distress because of increasing manifestations of aggression that are expressed before with the bullying and then, if not stopped in time, with the participation in gangs. Bullying is a form of group bullying. Some are bully, who is a victim of the bully and who to avoid being the victim joins the herd. Most students are not actively involved in bullying, either as bullies or as victims. Even though they know it is wrong, often end up being silent witnesses and accomplices of the phenomenon. The reasons for bullying are so varied as to allow psychologists to claim that anyone can take the time and the role of victim and persecutor. The group is critical because you feel strong inside: on the one hand it is gratifying, it feels secure and united by shared behaviors and on the other hand, can become a container of violence. The phenomenon of bullying perpetrated by students as "elderly" at the expense of younger ones is often also been the subject of cinema and literature, just to show what can be frequent. The school has a duty to intervene "because in its educational lines the main value is that of the person and the correct behavior is the first lesson. The plan of training that emphasizes the 'educational action is expressed through everyday behavior respectful of people and school rules, and points out how the mistake is never a value judgment on the person of the student, but a tool to improve and therefore must be managed in a way that does not compromise self-esteem, but rather that the incentives. Sometimes, in fact, for boys the greatest challenges to be faced daily tasks or are not questions, but the inclusion or not in the peer group and the knot of interpersonal relations. The so-called Reform Gelmini has restored the voting conducted by placing it as a condition sine qua non for promotion: Students who take the failure behavior in the years beyond. One of the reasons for this recovery was the decision to fight with more force, bullying and violence in schools. The males appear to be more involved, especially with regard to the recurrence of bullying with continuity. They are generally younger teachers to take decisive action against such harassment, perhaps because boys will allow more licenses before them, while older ones tend to minimize, even if this behavior on their part is definitely harmful. Even within the family is sometimes prefers not to give weight to what happened, or it should react the same way. This is detrimental. In fact, the first way to combat bullying is to immediately recognize the severity, before a problem easily solved becomes dramatic.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Andrés Pecino Peña
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

For the academic authorities, including the principal, was a tradition that had to be respected, because it was part of the history of the university. No matter if many students react to insults and humiliation. As Matthias (fictitious name) had to suffer twice: as a freshman and being homosexual. With great effort adopted its first year in one of the most prestigious universities nationwide. During these years the new student suffered from bullying queen carried by older students in bands organized and protected in the name of tradition.
Matthias of 18 years was ready to tell his story while not reveal his real name and the university. "I have to be here for many years, I can not bear the consequences of abuse and" confesses, "Even worldwide, including the director, are aware of these practices. " When he entered the university, essential to it, you could not imagine what would be found. He had heard the jokes that they spent the first year students by "culisti", as they are called to the protagonists of the jokes. In Internet forums and appeared the worst jokes. But you could imagine, in any of the cases, which exceeded both down to physical violence. Normally the system is activated bullying started about three weeks during the September. "During the first months was unable to sleep the whole night." Since the attacks in the punishment room in groups. Every night he called for a freshman to be present in the room of the "morons", where they had to put up no resistance. And "this is the main rule of school spirit" never subleves or you may find yourself alone. "Once we have gathered in that room from the one in the morning until seven, locked with the windows open. It was November and cold. Every half hour someone came and bathed us with foam extinguishers. Some liked pour hot wax in the hands of students "At that time Matthias was asked if he was homosexual, and had to be doubly punished by teasing insults in public.
This case is typical given at universities or who have suffered as university students. It is quite accepted by all you have to suffer some hazing to poderte integrate and it is a string that is done when you enter and move on to new members are integrated. This is used to do in the military as a compulsory and that we had to make a young man. The major went on to play tricks on the "bald" and then coming new followers.
This custom in colleges ended up joking "sometimes very heavy" and were recognized by all in authority as "normal." In recent years with some cases that have occurred in Spain too little thought as aggression has been the use of materials that were dumped in the eyes that were toxic and has begun to take steps to override the custom of playing tricks or paying the toll to enter certain circles.
In schools is not given for nothing this type of situation. Only in the colleges but not in schools, where programs looking for a good coexistence and peace, there are situations of this kind. No teacher can use and abuse much less problematic situations or materials that you damage or disturb the living.
In schools we have a Commission of Coexistence as a permanent body that monitors and prevents conflicts. And we are the work of re-educate the offender and to treat the assault as part of the educational work, that is, taking advantage of the use of conflict as a model for resolving matters and conflict situations that may arise outside the school.
Today is a new situation the fact of using technology to encourage cyber harassment are doing that professionals be alert to these new situations not previously given. For which they are making professional presentations that explain what happens to the misuse of technology and education in values ​​on which to stand and act as assertive people to situations. So as to form groups of students to monitor for a good living and can advise that the coexistence misuse and warn professionals teaching the conflicts. In our Catholic school is also being human formation groups that help you integrate and become better people.
Personally and because of my position as counselor and part of the Commission of Coexistence am obliged to be constantly updated about what moves the students in their interests inside and outside the school context and I have a master's degree in "school failure" and another in "specialization on developments in Adolescents" I think these are two studies that have enabled me to see many situations as well as the office for which spend hundreds of cases to over many years of educational experience that exceed thirty of them .
In closing I would like to see that cases of bullying and cyberbullying are very similar in all countries of Western Europe since the time of development and welfare that we have generated certain vices and selflessness situations by a small minority of students, the accompanying family situation increasingly diverse and in which adult authority has changed with respect to previous generations. And with this new society has appeared promptly mobile usage, videos, consoles .... And ever faster technology over time, which has been generating an increased "impulsivity" of desires and a society in which there has been no sanity and culture of personal effort to get to the step of "will" and the permanent use of "reason", but have been left, some of the students in "melon and slice in hand" "I get off the internet, music, movies .... And we've been led to believe that everything is cheap. With the level of payments by families, for child spends it costs me the same thing ... has to have a society that in these times will usually new changes.
I always say that as in the Neolithic there was a human revolution we are now witnessing a new culture of the whole school and often goes out of step with what is happening around them, hence we have to be changing at the speed of light and generating new professionals for new times.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Teresa Pérz del Valle
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

Our school is taught in teaching children from a high school education (3 to 16 years). Therefore, the university student profile is raised in this case is enough away from reality our school. However, we can set up a similar situation in 1 ESO (11-12 years), as that come into the school year 30 students (approx) from other centers.
To prevent the creation of workouts as of "hazing" and promoting integration in central new students are working from the tutoring session value "welcome". Dynamics through various students to interact do and get to know before starting up stereotypes and prejudices. In recent years we have put in practice this tutorial as level results have been excellent.
Recommendations for such situations
As i mentioned earlier, cases that have been raised in my center involving certain features in common with this has been fixed or covered from the tutoring and in the event the guardian has no training required or from the hall of living together, if this student conduct in a negative recidivism.

Relevant aspects of teacher training to address episodes of bullying and cyberbullying
it would be interesting to know as secondary teacher that certain psychological mechanisms in operation gets in the mind of a teenager to mark of superiority or inferiority complexes. The same way, it is difficult students guide to proper use of new technology means when they handle this much better than ourselves.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Carmen Selma
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

This case is quite common in certain universities, as indicated by the student, until the director is aware of what happens. Attempted to compare this case with one that can be given at our center, many times, mostly during recess, harassment of this type occur, in which older students take advantage of new or smaller by making him go pretty bad. Like the student in this case, our students are insulted and humiliated before the rest and nobody usually does anything.
They assume that they are grown old, and perhaps this is permitted in some universities, but in a school that could not be admitted and during recess when we should be more aware of not giving this type of abuse.
In addition to being a student again, this student is also gay, so that the insults and humiliation will be twofold. Today this issue of homosexuality, although we think it's something as more normal teenagers do not see it that way, and consider these people as sick and they feel some rejection. It is common in a class where a student has something effeminate or does not have normal hobbies of a man, they consider it as a freak and reject it and try to humiliate him.
We must educate our values ​​and mainly students that they must learn to respect all kinds of people, which we try to carry through our queen tutorial and occasionally we have people from other institutions or organizations to which they report on the subject.
I insist that teachers should receive more training in all these cases are given each time.

Date: 29.02.2012

Posted by: S Amott
Type of school: secondary school
Country: England

This case study is a very difficult study to comment on .The school seems to have an ‘initiation’ system built in where it seems to be socially acceptable within their institution for older students to bully younger students. This is an outdated practise that has been intensified to bully a homosexual student. This practise seems to have been accepted within this school and as such has become embedded within the school culture. In my honest opinion such practises are heavily outdated and should no longer exist in society, and especially not within a school system. I am personally and professionally shocked that this tradition is allowed to carry on and can see how this has easily leaded to a situation where the bullying has escalated.
It is very clear that the school needs to stop this tradition in general, as they cannot punish individuals for simply being a little harsher with their ‘victim’. I generally feel that neither my school nor any others in the UK would let this carry on and workshops and whole school incentives must be carried out to stop this tradition from happening.

There is clear homophobic atmosphere within this school that has underpinned this situation. Many schools have experienced this .This could be addressed by having lessons directly on the issue of homophobia or by having a whole school approach to this such as having a equality rule in their behaviour code.

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