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A boy seeking for trouble

  • Direct bullying
  • Non-especific

A pupil called Paul came to class rather late and ordered other boy Donatas to find another seat because the one he was sitting on was “his”. Students quickly started not even an argue, but to push one another, so the teacher parted them and ordered them to remain in the classroom after the lessons ends; also asked to stop wasting lesson and stop disturbing other who want to study and learn.
However, this event was not finished: when the bell rang both students staid in the classroom, the teacher gave them a moral about respecting each other and not owning public property and went on to pack things to leave the classroom as she heard that outside the door the “support” for the ofended student has already gathered; he wrote his friends sms to come and to help solve the problem as males.
Both students were in ninth grade, they both were new in school as they came to this gymnasium the same year.


The teacher talked with both, asked to stop fighting for whatever the reason is and to start living their own lives apart picking useless fights. Also, teacher emphasized that as they study in gymnasium this kind of behavior is especially unacceptable as the first thing should be learning as much as possible before applying for higher education institution. Later teacher asked to come for conversation both students, also informed gymnasium administration as this case was extremely dangerous for the teacher and other students – who knows what an angry teenager can do – and if this happens again, whether teacher would be able to separate two fighting strongly built males?
School’s administration is fully aware about both boys; they talked with them about their actions and the reasons for such anger and reaction.


These and similar events disturb the overall learning process, brings negative emotions in each of the witness life, creates a lot of problems and work for searching solutions not only for teacher, but also for the administration, the parents of the students that participated. The victims of this event are the students who just want to learn at school and who pay little attention to other disputes: a teacher cannot carry on with the lesson; she has to stop all kinds of disputes and open discussions. This affects not only the safety of all students', but in particular for the teacher herself because not only the work is hard with this kind of aggressive children, also to find the right words to make them to understand what she is saying and make them to start to pay attention to the lesson and to start to learn something, but due to the fact that you may never know whether or not they place their anger at anyone – say a teacher – that comes in their way. And this is unsafe and unhealthy work and study environment, because of constant stress weakens the neural system and negatively affect the overall human well-being.


The victim in this situation is considered to be Paul, because although he had caused and incited and initiated the conflict, but he is a weak part: Donatas is a boxer. Paul caused the conflict, because Donatas was sitting what Paul considers to be his seat, because he usually sits there. In addition, Donatas continuously bully him on a variety of reasons, especially due to the fact that he is a red-haired. However, and other classmates also bullies him in a bitter way sometimes.


Donatas asked the teacher explaining: “Who is Paul to order me around where could I sit and where I cannot? “- This was his main argument. In addition, in a public school, there is no ownership of public property, and that chair is not his, he's just looking for something to pick up a fight. Donatas did not understand why Paul was clearly looking for big trouble, because he's a boxer, no wise man would intentionally try to pick up a meaningless fight with him. However, at that time, it was important only to properly demonstrate Paul "his place“, that he wouldn’t jump above his powers and wouldn’t come across him, the coolest guy in whole school.
Donatas gave a promise to the teacher who witnessed the incident that he would not respond in any way to Paul's provocations and would not become involved in any disputes. He kept his promise till the end of school year.


Bullying takes place regularly, so there is no particular event. Paul regularly falls into the focal point of class attention on a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the so called itself excess: he regularly inadequately praises himself loudly during lessons, constantly excuses against teachers, grilling, comments, complaints, arrogant attitude.


The teacher, who has considerable experience working in school, was shocked how a teenager with suppressed emotions can light up as a match and not see or hear anything around him. The teacher only later realized the whole situation that she could have “caught” a fist, but was surprised by the fact that even though Donatus is a boxer, he didn’t beat Paul’s, only tried to avoid as he calls “stupid incidents”. The teacher knew there was an issue of bullying targeted at Paul in class, because she heard various comments, but never thought that Paul himself may initiate fighting.
In addintion, class teacher always defends him thus just heeting up the overall situation and doesn’t contact his parents when other teachers who have troubles dealing with this boy ask because she thinks his parents don’t care about him and worries that they will say something negative to him and he will be very hurt. Paul has two brothers, who study in other prestigious school and are very good students, parents are proud of them, because they not only do their primary job-learn-but also help them at home, doesn't cause so much trouble and help their brother to get better grades. But Paul doesn't accept such help and acts as if he is the victim of whatever the case.
Donatas is a bad student and he has very low marks because he seeks career opportunities in boxing sport. Paul is also a student with bad marks, but always finds a justification of low marks, say, the teachers asks why he did not do his homework once again, he states loudly for the whole class to hear that he didn't have a chance, because he was on a date – everyone should assume that he has a girlfriend. Clearly, these and similar comments always evokes the mockery comments from classmates.


The school's administration was informed of the problem and helped to resolve the conflict. These and similar incidents at the school are not to be tolerated, in earlier times such students would be thrown out of school, or at least would get a serious warning of such intentions, but now every child is important, because otherwise the school would receive less funding - each pupil is important because he come with students “basket” - money.


Paul's mother realized the consequences of her sons behavious and promised that his behavior will improve, because she will talk to him and to help with the difficulties he faces. But the father of Paul had very much different opinion about this case, since he doesn't have time to come to school to talk about his son’s actions (no one is paying him to), and furthermore he stated the behavior being very welcomed as he knows how to "fight for himself".
Donatas stepmother came to school (she was pregnant with his father’s child) and talked with teachers and administration, thanked for informing her and promised to talk to stepson that he wouldn’t make any negative comments about Paul or any other child. Donatas father does not have the time for such things as coming to school to know about his son’s progress and does not let son to communicate with his mother, because he says that the mother makes a bad influence she doesn’t agree to Donatas continuing boxing career.


School psychologist tried to figure out the reasons for the conduct of both children, which are at the root of each family: Paul has two brothers, who are well educated and has a lot of friends (and he doesn’t have a lot), and Donatas is being raised in a family which has a cult of force, where power belongs to the one with the most physical force.
Also psychologist sees that these two children show by their actions the lack of attention and appreciation.


It can be concluded that sometimes bullying might occur not necessarily due to untouchable reasons, but because of our own-related factors. Most importantly is to determine the cause and prevention of bullying in a time, while it didn’t become huge deal and until each participant had collected their hard feeling and meaningless ambitions.
It is also important that students' parents would not ignore the problem, not only tell you that they want, but in fact would want to help their child to adapt better in a new school.
It is also important that, if in class environment exists a problematic person (with a communication disorder, anger against others, envy, etc), classmates should not smirk of his and thus worsen the situation, but to try to help him, that all welfare and communication would be improved, and everyone would be more friendly and warmer people.


Момче, което си търси белята.pdf

Comments about this Case Study

Date: 07.06.2012

Type of school: Obervatory of violence and school dropping out - Ministry of Education
Country: Belgium

This is a case of conflict between students. An attempt of mediation / conciliation should be considered in this case. Moreover, given the physical problems developed by Paul, it would be appropriate to propose him an individual monitoring by a PMS team member.

Date: 25.03.2012

Posted by: Emilia Yordanova
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

The solution of this problem should involve sessions of the two boys with pedagogical counselors; the most adequate response would also involve the participation of the families of the two boys in the resolution of the case. The attention of the boys could be directed at more substantive issues, such as extracurricular activities – sports, theater, etc. The inadequate and not timely intervention would only lead to prolongation and escalation of the problem.
The suggestion for the discussions with the counselors is made because there might be also some other reasons behind this tension between the two boys, which they could share in honest conversations and after of course they manage to build a relationship of trust with the experts. Such consultations would be quite useful for the future development of the characters of the two boys.

Date: 16.03.2012

Type of school: HIGH SCHOOL
Country: ITALY

Bullying among teenagers is very common because students consider pride the most important thing in their life. Both teachers and parents have to cope with this problem because they are both responsible for the well-being of the students/children. Teachers have to be trained well in order to be able to face difficult situations and parents have to devote more time to their children because most of the times behind the teenagers need to boast their actions and show how cool they are lies the lack of communication and attention of the parents. If teachers could devote more time for their children, the students'behaviour at school could be better and more acceptable. In our society teachers in general have to play a great role: discussion among teenagers, group work and other activities that can help the students' cooperation and joint work can be considered successful. Teachers should focus their attention particularly on those students whose parents devote little time to their children.

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: Dana Danaila
Type of school: Primary School
Country: ROMANIA

Teenage violence in schools has become a tremendous concern to many people. School violence over the past number of years has been increasing and family life, the things that occur in schools and the neighborhoods that the teenagers (that commit the crimes or violent acts) live in are some of the major factors. These are not necessarily the only causes to teenage violence.
Family Lifestyle and the behavior of members within the family have been shown to have a direct affect on a teenager's behavior in school. A child can be influenced very easily by any older person, especially a family member, because he always looks up to that family member. If a person in the family is involved in a criminal activity then the children can be turned on by this and become interested in doing the same thing. If the guardian or parent of a teenager does not punish him for doing something wrong, this can only lead to repetition of the bad behavior. Failure to stop a child from doing something wrong could lead the child to believe that his behavior is acceptable. Also, a child thinks that the people that are supposed to love him don't even care that he is doing something bad so he will continue to do it. Teenagers also commit acts of violence to get their parents' attention. If parents ignore what their teenagers are doing, then the teenagers will continue to do more negative things just to get their parents to notice them.
School violence is a problem in both public and private schools.
The case „A boy seeking for trouble”, itself is quite common in the centers because students compete to occupy a status and certain roles in groups and want to show courage by using brute force and violence when confronted with a rival or competitor.
In Romania more and more parents working outside the home, students are very aware that it is difficult for school officials to contact their parents, and that even if they do, their parents often refuse to respond. Exacerbating this problem further, the parents may refuse to come to the school when asked if a child has been in trouble repeatedly, because they are tired of dealing with the child’s problems, they believe the school is at fault, or they believe there is nothing they can do to control the child. Sometimes parents do not respond because they were unsuccessful in their own school experiences; they view the school as a hostile environment.
But, in our private school we have a very good relation with parents. They came to school and talk with teacher every time is necessary or they need to do that.
Dis-according to the description of the incident, they seem to pay attention to their sons’ school progress, they try to have time to come to school often and they also seem to valuate the role of school and the importance of education. This attitude help us to solve the problem.
Despite the difficulties, in our opinion it would be helpful to engage these kids’ parents, not only to inform them about their negative actions when occurred, but also for good reasons in order to bring them closer to the school community. Another strategy implemented in our school and seemed to work a lot is the discussion about the incident with other classmates in „student council” and give them a reconciliation role.
The most common school security measure used to prevent violence or other
disruptive acts requires school staff, in particular teachers and security staff, video camera, to
monitor students’ movements in and around the school. Thus, staff monitor hallways, doorways, restrooms, lunch rooms, and the areas of the campus where students tend to congregate. In addition, more and more school funds are used to hire retired police officers or security guards.
Generally, the strategy followed in this case study seems to have worked, since Donatas kept his promise till the end of school year. So teacher’s handle of the situation proved efficient.

Date: 13.03.2012

Posted by: Ana Popa
Type of school: Vocational School, School Group of Arts and Trades HUSI
Country: ROMANIA

In this incident are involved two pupils:Paul and Donatas.Paul is the boy who wants "his" seat back and Donatas is the boy who "stole"this seat.
The teacher who witnessed the incident was in a very difficult position because this event disturbed the overall learning process, the safety of the students was affected and because it is very difficult to work with this kind oh aggressive children.
Firs of all , as a teacher I would talk to the administration,and let them know about the incident in order to do something to avoid this kind of incident for the future.
The administration should discuss with their parents and even they are too busy they should do everything to help their children to learn what mutual respect is, to redefine the rules of being together in the classroom and at school.
The school should have a good relationship with the parents, they must understand that communication is really important.Many families don't have the tools to evaluate their children for deviant behaviours , that's why they should keep in touch with the administration.
These children need to learn the importance of friendship , because if they don't have real friends,they are very poor,and if they want to be reach they need friends, reliable friends.That's why these children should be involved in common activities ,where they need to work in group in order to learn to communicate ,to appreciate the others,and to see that every human being is unique and has a a purpose in this life.

Date: 25.02.2012

Posted by: D.Musson
Type of school: 11-16 Comprehensive
Country: UK

There are many elements in common with this case study and case studies in our school. Parental support and perceptions of behaviour being one very important factor. The low self esteem of both students. Bullying due to hair colour, the case could have occurred in our school, with the addition of Facebook and text messaging. As with the Lithuanian school we are extremely fortunate to have the additional help of a Pastoral Support Worker to help resolve issues before it gets to this state. however were this situation to occur in our school, as it has done, we have issued Fixed term exclusions to both students for fighting and called in parents for a formal meeting with a contract of good behaviour as part of our readmission procedure. The parents are required to fulfil their part of the bargin by agreeing to certain targets with their children. A positive report card will then be issued which leads to a daily dialogue with a designated member of staff and hopefully the parent who is required to sign it. Additional work is carried out with both students with the PSW and the Connexions service to enable them to see what their future career opportunities might be.
The situation does seem to have been resolved well by the class teacher, but along with my Greek colleague I agree it would be very difficult to do all that we do in our school without the help of designated staff. The class teacher may not be trained in conflict resolution nor have the time to carry this out effectively and that is a must.

Date: 16.02.2012

Type of school: LYCEUM
Country: GREECE

This case study seems to have a lot of elements in common with the greek case study “Human dignity in rubbish”, while the incident described is often encountered in greek school life (of secondary education).
The boys involved in the incident display a bad behaviour coming from their low self-confidence which is enhanced by the lack of parental attention. Donatas like Billy is a teenager whose parents have been divorced and have bad relations with each other and thus he tries to dominate in school by any means. Paul faces the mockery of his classmates because of his appearance and arrogance, though Christos is a victim of racist beliefs. In both cases trivial excuses can trigger a disruption in class, draw everyone’s attention and harm the learning process (which is the most harmed victim in such cases).
A difference found between the two schools is the lack of counsellor /psychologist in greek schools, which is a great disadvantage. On the other hand, both educational systems seem to have a common attitude according to the avoidance of punishment and the importance given to children’s stay in school. And this attitude is enhanced recently, even by the Ministry of Education. Another common finding is that the children involved display pure school performance and get low marks.
The main difficulty faced in both cases is in the communication with parents. According to the description of the incident, they do not seem to pay attention to their sons’ school progress, they don’t have time to come to school often and they also seem to devaluate the role of school and the importance of education. This attitude hampers the handling of the problem.
Despite the difficulties, in my opinion it would be helpful to engage these kids’ parents, not only to inform them about their negative actions when occurred, but also for good reasons in order to bring them closer to the school community. Another strategy implemented in my school and seemed to work a lot is the discussion about the incident with other classmates and give them a reconciliation role.
Generally, the strategy followed in this case study seems to have worked, since Donatas kept his promise till the end of school year. So teacher’s handle of the situation proved efficient. But can we always solve such problems occurring in our class (especially under the pressure of the curriculum)? Have we been trained to do so? I am really afraid that our goodwill to do so is not always enough!

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