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  • Indirect bullying
  • Non-especific

The mother of A.A entering the office of the Director of the school rampage, shouting: "That’s enough! What happened with my child. Call the children who were on the bus to tell you what happened. " The director asks her to calm down and proposed her to sit down and tell him what happened. From what she says we concluded that:
One month ago, after the transfer of her daughter –A.A- in the school, the AA accepts several negative comments and "bichtes" for her and her family and threats from her female schoolmate, G.G . The two girls moved from home to school by school bus. One morning, the student G.G -following again the same, previous tactic of irony and threats, pushed the student A.A while she was going down from the bus and she claimed that she doesn’t do it deliberately, but someone else student came behind her and pushed her. So, she pushed the A.A. The girls wrangled, but fortunately the students who attended throughout the stage managed to send them away. This event was the opportunity to roll the ball of an indirect incident-verbal intimidation in one month "torturing" the A.A


The director tried to calm the mother to discuss with him and to be able to understand what had happened. He also asked a teacher to call A.A into his office, to hear her opinion. A.A repeats once again everything that had said to her mother two days before. When she came to school her female schoolmate G.G, doesn’t stop to annoy, to slander, to be mocked and life-threatening her. A.A doesn’t tried to react or to reply to what the G.G was "accused" her. The Director advised A.A and her mother and promised to call to the Director of the school to which G.G had transcribed and request him to convey the view of G.G about the incident. A.A wanted to talk particularly with a teacher of school, who had begun acquire some courage and asked from the director to say nothing to the other teachers because she was ashamed.
The teacher talked some time with A.A, who confided that GG was threatening her because G.G’s boyfriend stopped the relationship they had and had started to be friend with A.A. That was the key to the whole case.
The Director with cautious steps, tried to draw on his school teachers for both students and asked them to properly advise students to promote respect and social information on relationships between all the schoolmates and female schoolmates. By the side of teachers, was common the confession that there wasn’t something special or worrying in the relationship between the two schoolgirls.
A.A was a quiet kid, not watching especially in the courses and therefore having a low school progress. She had only two or three friends at school, so often she was and overwhelmed by a general feeling of loneliness. G.G distinguished of impulsivity and empathy of the low, so the Director concluded that the cause of this misconduct is personal, something that was confirmed and by the teacher with whom A.A had talked.
Students's views differ because some of them were either influenced or were friends of G.G or A.A. The other students, those who might have heard some of the sarcasm or threats of GG, and those who had attended the incident which took place in the school bus, but had heard the argument of the two girls did not want to say something to the Director or someone of the teachers.


A basic effect of bullying was the social isolation of AA, as the G.G had more influence on their peers. They unaware AA and they scorned her. The calumnies, the sarcasm, threats have affected predominantly interpersonal relations A.A. The gossip and spread bad rumors, had excluded A.A from all the groups of their schoolmates. This had important inhibitory factor that made difficult for A.A to say somethin to anyone.
The emotional impact of this whole situation had been created, ranging from a simple feeling of discomfort when played by the bullying by grief throughout the day, which intensified when the AA was prepared every morning to go to school .
Apart from the expected low school progress, the total school experience becomes a daily nightmare, as the AA tried in every way to make truancy from school or refusing to go to school. There were few times that AA was prone to depression, which appeared on her face-fact that might be interpreted to some extent by a sense of helplessness and powerlessness.


From the first time that G.G saw AA at the school, she behaving her badly. Whenever G.G saw or passed in front of A.A, A.A heard the GG’s negative comments for her and her family. Insults, taunts, indecent gestures and intimidations, "fired" from G.G against A.A. She defamed her to their classmates in repetition and annoying degree and generally offended her by words and obsenities. A.A was trying not to react or reply to what G.G was "accused" her. She was guessing that G.G was reacting by this way, because her boyfriend stop the relationship they had and started to be friend with A.A.
A.A was feeling uncomfortable to talk to someone, because she was afraid that somebody will call her “timid” and she propably became the target of a stronger intimidation. She also believed that her problem will not be disolved because the real reason wasn’ t associated with the school and it might was a matter of time to stop G.G this bad behavior.


According to what we learned about the incident from the Director of G.G’ s new school –who had been transcribed in it when the incident became known and she still was boarding the same bus with AA- G.G stated that A.A was the one who first spoke to her and spoke ugly. He added that in recent days, the AA lead her to what she says. About the pushing of A.A at the school bus, he claimed that someone schoolmate pushed her and she drove the A.A. Finally, she acknowledged the insults, the sarcasm and threats with which she had attacked AA, neither commented on why she react so to A.A.


Some of the students who had attended the bus, confirmed what happened by keeping a neutral stance towards the two girls, while other students said that they were sitting in seats away from the two girls and did not understand what happened. Others, argued that although the girls do not speak each other, when they did it, they surely quarrel. Of these, few were those who had heard the G.G’s taunts and threats and had understood that there was a personal reason between the two girls, a rivalry between A.A and G.G and they considered that there was necessary to inform someone about this. So they unaware of the fact and remained oblivious.
The general attitude of other students towards these two girls was the attitude of "we did not have many-many relationship with the girl."


Teachers had not seen a bad behavior of GG to AA. Teachers opinions converged on the view that:
- A.A (the victim) was a good-looking girl. She was a "closed" and "low key" person. She hasn’t got a good school progressand she was missing the first hours of school several times. She had only two or three friends and was often alone. Two or three teachers called her mother at school to highlight the low school progress of her daughter. Also, nobody had came closer to that girl.
- Accordance with the terms of the teachers, G.G was a child who does not "take" of advices. He stood for impulsiveness, rudeness and the low empathy.
"They fell from the clouds", when the Director of school –in his attempt to mark the bad interpersonal relationship of the girls- prompted them to talk to students about the respect they should show all the people.
They decided to be more careful and observant in their students relationships and communications and to disclose what they learn outside school site for students, which could be used for their good.


The problem of G.G’s improper conduct became known to the Director of the school by A.A’s mother. The mother went to the school to protest for the way that G.G facing her daughter. The Director tried to calm the mother who began shouting and telling him what had happened. When he learned what was happening at the expense of A.A, he advised properly A.A and her mother. He also rang the director of G.G’s new school to learn what G.G had said for the incident. Then he tried to draw on his school teachers for these students. Then, on the occasion of a meeting scheduled, he asked from his school teachers to do everything they can to push up the self esteem of students and also, to advise students properly to observe each other. Finally, he noted that the school is an institution of socialization in which the student spend the greater part of their day and they exposed to a variety of experiences, positive and negative, contributing significantly to their social behavior and also in shaping their culture, attitudes and values.


A.A’s mother claimed that her daughter did truancy from school, especially during morning hours or had a reduced willingness to go to school on the pretext of some sorts. The teachers had indicated her that the AA fails to have a good school progress in the courses. She knew that her daughter was "weak" in the courses, but had not found the size of the problem which her child was facing. A.A had confided her - two days before the incident on the bus- that she had wrangled with a female schoolmate and she was ashamed to say something about it to the teachers or the Director of school. A.A’s mother accused herself about what she could have done to resolve the issue, leaving peaks and for A.A’s father with whom he has divorced for several years.

G.G’s parents had never gone to school to ask about their daughter and her school progress. A teacher had said that G.G’s parents had divorced and they are very strange and difficult persons.


There was not a Counselor at school. The counselor, however from the Youth Advisory Station, belonging to the Directorate of Secondary Education in the Prefecture, who was informed about the incident later stated the following:
G.G.was abandoned by her boyfriend and he was approached by A.A. This was the determining factor of G.G.’s violent behavior towards A.A. However, the deeper motive was G.G.’s inability to accept the cancellation that was provoked by the relationship’s denial and loss. Her behavior towards A.A. is the violence of a defensive- survival character, which aimed at redefining her self-appreciation through outlined images of the bipolar relationship friend- enemy. This pattern secured her spiritual protection from a certain breakdown, given the lack of other sufficient psycho-protective mechanisms such as family or academic goals.
The victim’s attitude- inability to react, fear, concealing the threats- is the result of her general psychological profile: An adolescent of low self-esteem, with great insecurity, a feeling of worthlessness, misfunctional beliefs, lack of social dexterities. These elements strengthened her vulnerability, and the result was the development of avoidance, such as her refusal to go to school and her strong belief that she was justifiably put in the victim’s position, because her sufferings are her own fault and she deserves them: an unending circle which led to the culmination from verbal to physical violence.
The Headmaster’s intervention is considered positive on two levels. The first level has to do with how he dealt with the matter, in which he showed discreetness, a will to cooperate and he assumed his pedagogical responsibility. The second level has to do with the fact that the incident provoked the increase in pedagogical sensitivity of the teachers, so that such phenomena are dealt with in time and effectively.
The consequences of this event on the school community were obviously negative, since the entity of the school community was threatened. The students were divided into opposing teams and most of them either sided up with the most powerful in order to belong to a group or took a neutral stance thinking that the matter did not directly concern them, it is not worth it.
The Counsellor’s intervention in the school could have acted on two levels. The first would have been the intervention towards the students G.G. and A.A. on a personal counsel with repeated meetings, aiming at redefining the intellectual and emotional functions which form aspirations, beliefs, skills and goals. The second one would focus on using, through the school community, the involvement or quality circle, which would consist of students. These students would preferably be ones who had been involved in the past in violent incidents, aiming at creating a sense of responsibility, attention and readiness towards violence.


Policy makers from the local community who are related to education were not informed about the case. The Deputy Mayor for Education was later informed of the incident, described as positive response the director’s manipulation of the case as well as the teachers’ ones.
He considered the lack of a counselor in schools who could intervene directly.
He stressed the need for prevention rather than treatment of similar incidents. He considered the necessary cooperation of the school community with the relevant departments of the Municipality (Deputy Mayor for Education and Social Services) in order to provide information and support services such as visits to schools, teachers and parents workshops, actions that can shrink the stereotypes and prejudices, to prevent the occurrence of an event and not treat it.


The student G.G was intimidating her female schoolmate A.A for a month, because her boyfriend had left her and he had started to hang out with the A.A. She had made A.A’s life difficult .
A.A, kept hidden her secret of intimidation by the G.G very well, because he feared the consequences of abuse and threats of G.G. She doesn’t asked for help and she had not acquired the courage to tell her pain in the school which had just entered yet.
The teachers thought that this "closed" and solitary behavior of A.A was the result of her adapting to the new school, which would had been changed after a little time and result of a low school progress.
This incident "sounded the alarm" of bullying and was prompted to pull parents, directors and teachers in educational and koinonikopoiitiko role.
Concluding this case of studing the school bullying, we might could say that it is very important to begin a mobilization against school bullying, particularly focusing all school stakeholders in the prevention of this unwanted phenomenon. Finally, let us know well that teachers are “carving” in their hands the souls of their students and the only thing that is not forgiven in their educational career -especially when it is a case of school bullying– is to do nothing.


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Comments about this Case Study

Date: 16.03.2012

Posted by: Ann Foxley-Johnson
Type of school: Secondary 11-16 Comprehensive School
Country: United Kingdom

The case study in itself was born from an all too common issue that all secondary schools now deal with…The ‘love triangle’ and its consequence’s can escalate into a serious issue like it did in this case.

The cultural difference is the lack of ‘out of school agencies’ that is common place in schools in the UK today. These are seen as invaluable parts of the team that help in the ‘whole child ‘approach that we strive for.

If this had happened in my school, I would say that we would hope to deal with it as sensitively as the School Director did in the case. The Pastoral system that we have in place at Springwell would have meant that the targets (A.A) would have been spoken to by her Head of Year someone that she would have been introduced to during the ‘transition phase ‘this is when the primary school children are invited to the school and meet with the main staff and have a taster day- this is so they can experience what a ‘big’ school is like.
AA would have then had a referral to our Learning Mentor who would have worked on a 1:1 basis with her encouraging her to chat about her experiences and try to break down any barriers to learning (as you state that AA is underachieving as well) AA parent would then be encouraged to take AA to their doctor for a referral to a specialist who deals with teenage depression in our country this is called C.A.M.H’s (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Support).These are experts councillors and physiologist who can work with young people to help them with any problems that they are having.
In school we would have interviewed both parties and discussed the consequences and actions/punishments for the violence that AA suffered. This would have been done by a Student Progress Leader (Head of Year) and or Senior Leadership Team and it all would be documented on a Bullying Incident Form.
The difficulty in this case is that GG’s parents were unapproachable which is disappointing as the parents/carers role in resolving any issue and addressing poor behaviour is more powerful when they work alongside the school and other agencies. It also ensures that GG realises that there is a United Front who all agree that her behaviour was unacceptable.
At our school we regular educate our students about bullying, whether it is Year group assemblies or in religious Education /Drama/ Personal Health and Social lessons where it is embedded throughout.
The bystanders in this case were powerful ‘players’ as they di not intervene and ‘stand up for AA.Did they see the behaviour of GG as acceptable? This is something that can be addressed through Education. We teach all our students that they have the right to be safe and the responsibility to report any bullying or anti-social behaviour.

I would recommend that the school runs a ‘being safe week’ focussing on looking after each other. This would then send out a clear message throughout the school and the community that there was a Zero-tolerance regarding Bullying.

Date: 16.03.2012

Posted by: Diana Vaneva
Type of school: Secondary school
Country: Bulgaria

Once again, the cultural setting in solving cases of bullying is very important. The headmaster in this case has tried to investigate the situation very carefully, however not openly - he involved the teachers and informed them about the situation a bit later. The only person who actually raised the problem was the mother of A. A. Despite all the efforts of the headmaster to solve the problem, we can also propose measures such as including a team of experts in the process of mediation (psychologist, pedagogue and social worker) to work with the two girls and their families in order to establish an open dialogue and a lasting resolution. This is usually a successful practice and achieves long term positive effects for all parties involved.

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