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Physical violence used because of the splash with water

  • Direct bullying
  • Non-especific

This bullying event occurred in one of 7th grade classes during the beginning of the school year. The main participants of bullying event – two boys and one of them got involved other boys from the class as well. In the end of physical education lesson the boys started fighting, got each other’s clothes dirty, the initiator together with other classmates intentionally pushed the weaker boy and he fell on the ground, consequently the boy's clock got broken.
Used forms of bullying: physical violence, psychological violence, hustle, intimidation and verbal bullying.


The injured boy immediately talked to gymnasium personnel, he informed teacher about the incident. He wanted to immediately clarify the incident and to bring a claim for a damaged clock. During the conversation with the victim the reasons of the incident were clarified, former class friends were present. Later, with the consent of the injured boy, all bullying event participants were interviewed. It turned out that the incident was provoked by the fact that the injured boy accidentally splashed with puddle water the bullying boy. This and other nearby situated boys immediately attacked the victim and started to push, not carried whether it was done intentionally or by accident. The boys cursed each other and hustled.


According to the claims of the bullying boy the injured boy intentionally caused the conflict by splashing with mud water. He admitted that he didn’t think whether this might have occurred accidentally and immediately attacked to get revenge, and other friends helped him. From his point of view, the injured boy, not for the first time provokes by words (this time - actions) some of the incidents, so he immediately attacked him. The boy who bullied apologized for his conduct in conversation with the victim and a teacher of the gymnasium, understool the causes of the incident and regretted the consequences. He also promised to fix the clock for the victim. During a verbal contract, he vowed to seek for better behavior, to stop teasing and to stop bullying in all forms, to deal with him in a friendly manner. In a verbal agreement with the main participants in the conflict the next steps were clearly discussed: the acknowledgment of the situation with class teacher, the parents, boys' behavior and communication and relationship with each other, the observation of boys' behavior for a certain period, the next meeting for the discussion of progress.
Gymnasium specialist informed class teacher about the event, it was decided to observe those boys' behavior, their communication. After one week the meeting with the participants of the incident took place. It was brief discussion as no bullying incident happened and the clock was already fixed, also the two boys did not have any other comments to each other.


Other students saw the conflict arising between the boys and became involved in it, helped the bullying boy to "teach" the victim boy. During the interview with the gymnasium specialist they admitted their actions were wrong, they should have helped the victim. Students claimed that the injured boy sometimes provokes similar incidents, and they immediately thought that this time he is also guilty.


Whereas the ' bullying ' event took place in the physical education lesson in the school yard, the teacher didn’t manage to immediately notice the conflict. The students played football, and he only realized after a while, that a dispute takes place not about the game, that it is a hustle among the pupils. Teacher missed to stop the conflict, because the injured boy had already escaped from the event location (at the time he ran to the gymnasium specialist). The teacher told her about the event, even though he didn’t see it with his own eyes when and why it started.


Gymnasium specialist informed about the incident and the decision to be implemented the non-formal education and aid for the student section’s manager, the department’s of basic education manager. It was decided to keep track of children's relationships.


A week after the incident during a discussion with all participants, the students told that talked about it with their parents. After the incident, class teacher informed students’ parents by telephone. The victim's watch was fixed; more conflicts between the boys' didn’t happened, pupils’ parents didn’t contacted school due to the problems amongst their children.


Social pedagogue researched the incident in detail talked with the students' involved in bullying', informed the class main teacher about the event, along with the main participants established verbal contract in respect of further mutual communication and behaviour between each other, observed the boys the actions for the sertain period of time (interviews with students, the class teacher), after a week once again met up with the boys to discuss the changes. As a social pedagogue she informed the non-formal education and qualified aid for student also main education sections managers.


The conflict between the students was caused by the fact that students from the beginning, failed to analyze the situation and first of all started to use physical violence.
The injured boy been accused for being the provocateur of similar incidents – he was given a label, so the boys who started to use violence didn’t think that he was able to do so (splash another child with water) accidentally.
In this case, after analyzing the incident together with the participants of the conflict, the causes of the incident, the bully boy and the others have understood and accepted their guilt.
In a verbal agreement with the main actors in the conflict the next steps were clearly discussed.

Comments about this Case Study

Date: 11.05.2012

Posted by: LEILA SLIMANI - criminologist
Country: Belgium

This case analysis exemplifies the difficulty and danger to classify students into categories of victimization and authors.
The case presented shows a certain ambiguity in the behaviour of students, making the reader of the study not being able to identify students as being only author or only victim of bullying.
Here the situation is treated from a fact that may seem trivial, but which I think is the externalization of older difficulties, already existing in the relationship between students. I wonder therefore whether previous responses were recorded by the members of the school team. Other indicators of the conflict seem to have existed. Had the problem then been already treated?
It is not always obvious to the professional to identify a problem. The latter can then grow and cause a kind of escalating violence.
In this situation, occasional bullying episodes, based on a potential misunderstanding, turned into physical and violent acts.
The school has directly contacted the parents of the young people concerned. I think this reaction is appropriate and is also justified by the fact of involving family in the reaction that the school may have facing a wrongful act committed within his establishment.
Besides the two aforementioned students, other young people were involved in the discord. Their reaction and their quick statement of position lead me to believe that a collective action must be considered here. Indeed, apart from practices attempted with victims / bullies, I think a generalized approach would also have meaning here.

Date: 18.04.2012

Country: ROMANIA

I chose this case study because it presents us with a very familiar situation in every school of Romania. There is a tendency, at least in the middle of gymnasium pupils, to answer with violence, especially verbal and physical, when somebody assaults them, even if by accident. Many react impulsively, without offering themselves a moment to first analyse the situation. Boys show a more frequent attitude of such, as they fall easily into the trap of believing that a boy proves his physical power when he dominates and humiliates, abuses others. There are, consequently many similarities between the presented events and what happens in the school where I am employed. Even the process of solving such a conflict is similar: the class teacher is informed about the incident, parents are announced, the pupils involved talk with the counselling school staff. A certain difference can be seen in the implication percentage of the factions mentioned above. Usually, the class teacher is the first person that is announced when such incidents occur. He/she informs parents and the director of the school. Most of the times, depending on the gravity of the action, the parents are asked to come to the school for a meeting: parents, pupils (victims and aggressors), class teacher, director, school counsellor. Solving such matters requires implication from all of the mentioned factions. Although seemingly minor, these violence acts, if left untreated with the necessary attention, can become the mark for future conflicts, with more harsh consequences on the pupils.; as D. Sapiro says, „any conflict that is not resolved in due time acts like the premise for the birth of a new conflict.”
I consider very useful in solving and improving such cases the familiarisation of the pupil,s with efficient ways of managing conflicts and their involvement in activities that offer them the opportunity of gaining skills of assertive communication. Such activities can be developed during class hours as well as during group counselling activities organised by the school counsel. To maximise the efficiency of these meetings, teacher trainings concerning school bullying are always welcome as well as development of informative materials on this theme. I believe that a good training of the didactic staff in this field will lead to finding new efficient strategies of managing violence acts in schools, leading thus to a decrease of the phenomena.

Date: 13.03.2012

Type of school: AEDE - European association of teachers
Country: Belgium

This card is about teasing, verbal intimidation on behalf on the bully, but also about a challenging victim (perceived that way by the whole class).
Only one specific event is related: an attack (physical violence) to take vengeance following the wrong interpretation of an accidental gesture of the victim (water splatter).
It seems it is not systematic bullying. We could rather speak of a main critical event between both pupils who have difficult relationships.
The school has managed the sanction in a constructive an educative way by:
• taking immediately the victim into account, as well as the bully (and the followers)
• analysing the event with both parties (that has allowed the bully’s realization and the recognition of the fault)
• a “gentlemen agreement” between both pupils, the setting up of a follow-up, the reparation of the fault (giving a new watch)
• informing the parents

These measures quickly taken, have allowed to avoid any subsequent event:
• Both actors have been involved in the search for a solution.
• The bully could understand why his behaviour is inappropriate and find solutions
• A reparation has been made
• A watchful follow-up has been set up. It is essential because bullying is not ordinary violence.
• The followers have understood that they had stuck a label on the victim and showed empathy towards the victim

The headmaster’s office should have intervened in the class to “make an example”, to remind the pupils of the school rules (right to well-being and safety for everyone).
Working with this class on the “group dynamic” would have been interesting. The school could have called for external psycho-social workers.
A work with the victim on his way to get in contact with the others could have been undertaken or suggested to the family.
What was the real bully’s empathy towards the victim? Working on that would also have been interesting.
Information sessions in the classes carried out by professionals on the respect of the others, self-esteem, conflict management, communication,…

Date: 02.03.2012

Type of school: HIGH SCHOOL
Country: GREECE

Events of this kind are not rare. They occur frequently in lower classes and especially among boys. Conflicts among students can launch accidentally as in the case study under consideration or begin by a joke, a hoax or a misunderstanding but rarely by serious cause. The tension escalates when none of the parties give up. Children, adolescents and young people in general often lack the maturity to think logically and solve their differences in a civilized manner. Their reaction is often guided by instinct and emotion. They try to prove to classmates and friends but especially to their own self that they are strong personalities that no one can violate their rights or violate their vital space. The basic reason behind all this is the insecurity they feel about their abilities and the lack of confidence in themselves. The sense of personal failure and hence the expression of violent behaviour, is greater as the young person experiences the rejection of his peers. Rejection can have several causes, such as low achievement in the lessons or sports, physical defects, different interests and attitudes, etc. Experience has shown that students involved in incidents of school violence are particularly weak students, persons who can not go along with their classmates and who strive to be confirmed in other ways.
Incidents or behaviours like these should be treated by the teachers and the school director with composure, sobriety and sense of justice. The punishment of those involved in such incidents should be proportionate to the seriousness of the case, the degree of involvement and the background of each person. The punishment is not effective unless accompanied by a discussion with each person individually about the causes that led to the incident as well as on ways of avoiding it. Generally there should be an effort so that students understand that such events and behaviour are socially reprehensible. Teachers should put effort to try so that students who exhibit such behaviour to be guided in activities that enhance their confidence and assist them in their integration into peer groups.

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