Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This material reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein

Also available in:

"I Am Not Scared" Project

Homepage > Case Studies > Document

Case Studies


Nicolas: assaulted, robbed, raped

  • Direct bullying
  • Indirect bullying
  • Cyberbullying
  • Ethnic-cultural differences
  • Non-especific

Nicholas attended the second year of a vocational school in a suburban town. He is included in a mid-level, male-dominated class. Gladis is Romanian, moved to Italy 5 years before; his father is bricklayer, his mother is housewife. Gladis quickly became the leader, he is the recognized leader of a group of 5 students, 3 of which come from countries outside the EU, he is repeating the same class and has a bad behavior. Gladi's band seems to correspond to the phenomenon of pathological herd aggregation, where cohesion responds to the need to endorse their frustrations, fears, anxieties, by sharing and by projective identification. The group tries to gain visibility and Gladis is given by others, an identity, albeit misguided. Suddenly the dynamics of aggression against Nicolas started, because he is reserved, shy, has fragile relationships with peers, is lonely, shy with the teachers, suffers from dyslexia and a significant overweight. Nicolas is supported by a tutor. Nicolas is isolated within the new group class created by the two remaining halves of two different classes. He doesn't make friends, undergoes daily insults, jokes, thefts after the break. Nicolas's backpack is smeared of coffee and chocolate was poured over books; he suffered acts of vandalism. He is asked to pay a "tax" because Nicolas can take the bus and when the boy does not manage to get money with extortion, Nicolas is brutally beaten and robbed. The episodes of violence are acted mostly out of the school bus in the square. The herd of Gladis also targets Nicolas's family, in the evening they buzzed again and again at Nicolas's house: They shout, swear, threaten him and his family. Nicolas's parents found the car damaged one morning and a stack of broken glass in front of the house: they made complaints against unknown. At school some repeated acts of violence occurred. Nicolas finds insulting messages in the pocket of the jacket, full of insulting words towards his parents "Jehovah's Witnesses." Nicolas is filmed with a mobile phone during the hours of physical education in the gym, the video is the day after on the net and on YouTube within a week the blog is enriched with offensive expressions. One morning, Nicolas is not in school also Gladis is missing. The support teacher phones home to inform Nicolas's parents and his mother warns, as it assures the teacher that the child left home as usual at seven to take the bus. At the end of the day, after Nicolas's parents claimed to the police the disappearance of their son, Nicholas was found by a motorist on the side of a road bordered by woods naked, under the influence of drugs and he was in serious state of confusion. He was held hostage for the entire day, beaten, stripped and forced to eat pills. He was admitted to hospital he was diagnosed with a serious head injury and residual signs of sexual violence. Gladis's group was reported to the Police.


The institution attended by Nicolas is a vocational school that is attended by very motivated students, especially during the first two years, in the study. For this reason, in Nicolas's class, like any other, from the beginning of the school year all the possible strategies to motivate students have been set up. The teachers and the whole team teaching in the schools, including counselors and experts worked to enable business practices on the study method as well as on civil society, through workshops and initiatives assigned to specific teachers guide the class council.
In this case the most important part of the support was coordinated by the teacher, who requested the intervention of the Headmaster, the counselor, the student and family involvement of all students, as well as the teachers of the class involved.


The vocational school in this case is inserted into a context, in a city with a strong presence in migration who demand for unskilled labor. The motivation of the students attending these institutions often do not correspond to their expectations as they are not kids who show special aptitudes. Their curriculum is often characterized by failures or transfers from one school to another. Foreign students also have enrolled almost by accident, finding a school willing to welcome them to the school year started or why, from immigrant families, have carefully evaluated the choice of orientation of the lower school levels. Therefore, the environment is heterogeneous and operators are often involved in critical situations daily.
Nicolas lives this context aggravated by personal problems, justifying the presence of the teacher support, and a family environment that promotes social cohesion, but rather increases its isolation.
And 'an essential need in the school context the need for personal safety is secured, but the problem is the stronger for Nicolas world outside the school where, until the culminating episode of bullying in which the victim was, there seemed to be a protection of its weakness. The world that hitherto surrounded him was a world distracted, which although in itself the structures and tools to defend him, was unable to protect him until the end.


Nicolas spent the first two months of school, in complete social isolation, he did not speak for fear of retaliation, he found among fellow silence, unable to relate in a pro-active, sometimes amorphous in their emotional apparatus


The band members have not taken into serious consideration the consequences of their actions. In many expressions of the various parties involved have been justified with phrases like: "It was a giorco", "I was asked to do so", "but what we did wrong." All this definitely think that the general fall of social ethical values ​​of reference of our society is a fertile ground in those social environments characterized by poverty, cultural as well as social.


In the class of Nicolas, difficult in terms of relational strategies were introduced for the recovery of emotional and relational skills: peer-mentoring, peer-mediation, peer-counseling. Evidently the action of psycho-pedagogical situations unstructured, unstructured and gangrenous, it should be done in the school of 'obligation, which constructs personological take shapes and shadows of deviance can be traced and neutralized, helping children to acquire an adequate emotional control, and project themselves in a dimension of motivation for social interaction.


Teachers have "team" around the case of Nicolas. Together with teacher support have become available to enable all the useful strategies to overcome this crisis phase.
First class guided discussion led students to reflect on the suffering and diversity were valued reflections on solidarity through the reading of specific texts. Also against those responsible, while the responsibility for the actions committed and full condemnation of violence, have been initiated cooperative learning activities based on the group as an element to strengthen individual weaknesses and to cement ties in a positive way within the group class.


The Headmaster, informed of the classroom climate and episode of bullying, intervened in the first instance by calling the class council to approve the punishments provided for sanctions. In particular, the suspension of Gladys and her group for fifteen days from the lectures and the subsequent allocation to the end of the first assessment of the inadequacy of voting behavior.
The families were called all the students involved, but especially the parents of the class were involved in a training and externalizing problems of school led by a psychologist made ​​available by the school.


Nicolas's parents have shown isolated from the outset in their social context and also little attention compared to the problems of the child. Nicolas is the situation of the iceberg of all the educational and social problems to which his family has to face every day. For this reason, the family of Nicholas has been directed towards social services of the municipality of residence.
After the complaint has been requested and obtained from the family assisstenza legal.
The case has not yet closed.


Recent psychoanalytic contextualizations have focused attention in the case of bands, on the relationship between the deviant act and difficulty in defining identity and social integration, interpreting the aggressive act as an obstacle in the realization of dreams and evolutionary 'as if the act to exempt children from the group are totally guilty. The choice of an action group could confirm that the child is in this sense, the so-called deviant, does not move outside of regulatory frames, but precisely because it takes them as orientation behavior, expressed as a result of startegie autoesonero, aimed at building consistency between what he intends to do and what can be considered in terms of social expectations.
In the progressive redefinition dell'dentità staff, the group experience is the context of construction and elaboration of social skills.
For the reasons described above sonostate activated the practices of peer education, which are also reflected in the actions to combat the phenomenon of bullying.


The case was reported by parents to the local public security, which has initiated a process of investigation even in the criminal aspects involved with the social office of the municipality of residence.


Psychologists interpret the dynamics of the pack, reporting that the group decreases social inhibitions, because the responsibility would be diluted. In "Letters Lutheran" Pasolini spoke of young people as "human criminal tendencies" definition that is well suited to the members of the herd described above (Pasolini, 1976).


Николас нападнат, обран и изнасилен.pdf

Comments about this Case Study

Date: 25.03.2012

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

The strategy employed for alleviating the situation of Nicolas could probably be more successful alongside other methods such as ban of mobile phones at school and inclusion of courses focused on cultural and social difference and tolerance. The bullied boy would most probably need to attend a special intervention program which would involve psychological support to him and his family. The bully and his group would also need to be treated accordingly which would make them feel the inappropriateness of their behavior and the need to act with tolerance, help and understanding towards people like Nikolas.

Date: 19.03.2012

Posted by: Mª Victoria Fernández Roldán
Type of school: Teacher Training Center
Country: Spain

I think it is a very serious case. I have not heard of a similar case in my environment.
As does the teacher in this case, the first is to inform the direction and start taking action on the perpetrators.
It is necessary to collect as much information as possible about what is happening and implement actions in the classes of students affected.
Although they are older it is important to inform families and support the family of the victim.
It is necessary to explain in the center that they will not consent to such actions.
In schools with pupils over certain socio-economic situations and tutoring, preventive, has, if anything, more important. Needless to say that the performance in cases like this has to be strong.
-The creation of teaching teams inthe case intervention
Training for teachers on preventive actions of peer violence ..
-Information and training to families on the same topic.
-Potential for preventive actions with students and families.
-Action protocols for when these situations occur

Date: 19.03.2012

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

What is very serious in this case, is that the violence go beyond the school, reaching also the Nicolas’s parents. And also that he was beaten, sexually abused, made to pay taxes to Gladis's gang and forced to use drugs.

School context is a very important cause in this case, being especially migrant children who have attended several types of schools; they frequently faced with school failure and have no motivation to attend to the classes or special skills as well.

It's very important that the teachers managed to constitute a team and addressed viable strategy in this case. A case which is very difficult when dealing with issues on intercultural and moral and social values differences between teenagers. Fact which makes them to hardly realize the consequences of their actions or to assign to them a positive meaning. In these cases punishments and inclusion of the parents in training programmes is an appropriate approach.

These cases of violence are rare in the schools from Romania, even less in schools for children with special needs because of their individual psychological particularities.

I think that in this case all measures taken by the school have been beneficial, especially that all stakeholders have been working together to manage this crisis. It would be desirable, however, a bigger involvement of the police, because of the extreme violence manifested and because happened beyond the school area, where the school have no authority. Police should have a permanent involvement in the school activity, continuously monitoring the potential cases of and engaging periodically or whenever a problem arises in preventing and combating violence.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Teresa Pérez 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 profile of students attending our center point may have in common with that raised in the case of lawrence. Further, our few places reserve center for students with Special Needs Educations teachers so should work with continuously and academic problems posed socialization have a student with these requirements in the classroom.
In the event of pupils with Special Needs Educations support to have a center is the course of the counselor and teacher with the support that manage and monitor progress of students who can not follow the general rate class. In fact many cases the support staff is limited because guidelines to be known to certain disorders, diseases or deficit may affect student learning, as we know more talking about race as own psychology, pedagogy ...
Particular attention call me what you call "l'assamblea di classe" o "consiglio di classe" is interesting to raise a tutoring session as if it would be an assembly in which the students are and parliamentary debate on a theme and vote a solution.
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 relapse in this student classroom behavior from living together.
Inside the strategy that would include tutoring my work is the council of the class. I find it interesting discuss the problems out loud (and we do this) but from this perspective, giving their value and valuing reflections penalties nominate themselves acts that do not meet standards of living together.
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: Teresa Pérez del Valle
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

Fortunately, in my school never have had to deal with a situation similar to that happens to Nicolas. In fact not in our college training offered in particular the education that is offered from infant to secondary school education (3 to 16 years).
May be relevant to the fact that students present problems of integration for reasons social (immigrants) or conduct (repeater or students with problems) are usually evenly distributed in classes, so try to avoid the bands or partnership further, that each student joins the educational community is reporting standards of conduct of the center will be put in knowledge of protocol should we do not meet these regulations.
In my school if we would have had to face the case of Nicolas, we would have acted sooner. Guardian figure is very significant in our center, and serves as many things including sensor socialization group class, detecting and solving problems since the first time or for those deriving we are not trained professionals in the field (counselor). In addition, the mechanism of co-existence has room and the band reacted gladis and would contact the office of teachers classroom counselor conviviality and that would, through different teaching materials, working values such as tolerance, self-control the same way, he has worked in the social insertion group class work through Nicolas with own individual student, and group with the rest of the class, addressing the need to know the value of empathy.
Recommendations for such situations
Classroom behavior from living together. In any event, since the tutoring sessions are some talks and activities dedicated to the students know the problems that may occur through a misuse of new technologies. Also, the parents of students involved in cyber bullying (bullies and victim) are advised to address the problem may from own home.

Date: 29.02.2012

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

This is a very serious case study and goes beyond any form of bullying I have seen in my professional life. My main concern that this bullying was on going for a long while and the school seemed to be aware of the situation without taking the matter into hand. I believe if this would have been strongly dealt with at an earlier stage the bullying may not have escalated into such a serious situation. I believe that the bullying should have been taken into hand as soon as possible and the school should have worked with both the victim and the bully. I am also very concerned that the school seemed to offer no other pastoral support for Nicolas at any stage of this bullying process. I believe that at my school Nicolas would have had a lot more support and assistance with dealing with this situation before it escalated. I strongly disagree with the way in which the situation was dealt with in the aftermath of the assault. I think this is raising a number of legal and moral issues as the victim and his abusers still seem to be in the same school. The School seems to take no action in the incidents that have occurred outside school and the abuse the victim’s family received as part of this action. At no point does the case study mention supporting the family or liaising with the police to see how they could offer support.
I believe this incident may have not have escalated to such a point within a British school. I feel if the bullying is known by the school, the pastoral systems (Heads of Year, Pastoral Manager and Assistant Head in charge of safeguarding) would have identified and dealt with the problem. If this problem was to happen in our school I feel that suitable strong action would have been taken.
This case study would have been a very difficult case to deal with and I do not think I have had enough training to strongly say how I would deal with a serious assault such as this between two students. From discussing with colleagues I think this would have to be addressed at a ‘Whole- school’ level to be dealt with successfully

I Am Not Scared Project
Copyright 2024 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission