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Bullied because of having talents

  • Direct bullying
  • Indirect bullying
  • Non-especific

In the eighth grade Dovile’s artistic talents began to unfold: musicality, painting, and clothing style. It immediately caught attention of her girlfriends in a form of jealousy, ignorance to some extent and bullying, as Dovile began to be very involved in school life, was very valued by teacher. Her best friends started bad talks about her, to criticize her clothing, say unpleasing things in front of her eyes, to report her to class teacher, so called her misdemeanors. It lasted for the whole year until everyone went to different gymnasiums.


Class teacher immediately noticed a change girls approach to the Dovile and tried to have a discussion. Dovile did not want to acknowledge the existence of bullying, but the she was devastated by going through it, being misunderstood and not valuated by class friends. She said only wants to be her own self, to do the things she likes and how understands, without regard the opinions of the others. When she felt she had creativity in herself she began composing poems, even writing songs which led to her new fashion style, and started to wear excessive makeup. She actively participated in school and class life and did everything that teachers asked with great responsibility and even proposals and ideas. Such students creates the image of the active class, forms a good opinion about the entire workplace. After the first bullying actions she started to avoid those girls and started acting more challenging, she proved to herself that she is right. Her principles – be yourself — evoked an open conflict with the girls. She actually considered them to have less talent. And it was true. Dovile felt more mature than her classfriends and felt that they were jealous of her. Asked if she needed any help, she replied negative, because she has friends outside the school. Dovilė confessed that in no way she would come to complain about bullying even though it saddens and hurts her feelings. During this first and last talk Dovile asked the teacher to step aside and do not talk about it or make any comments towards those girls. Asked if she spoke with her mother (her father is not present), the girl replied that positive, and that the mother agrees with her opinion on behalf of not talking about bullying fact publicly. Moreover Dovile stated this bullying towards her and jealousy is just a simple childishness.


Despite Dovile’s request not to talk about bullying, the teacher gently talked with each girl in class on numerous occasions. Not all girls were pro bullying, but some on them remained numb about this case. Teacher also talked with the bullying girls when they reported about Dovile’s actions. Dovile is a very good student. Her average is 8,2. The girls told her that Dovile is a spoilt girl, everywhere, trying to present her opinion as the right one. They don't like the music she performs ("some kind of waste – nor rap nor rock; they told in a lot expressfull way). They don't like her provoking clothing (some “rags"), and excessive makeup. In particular, the fact that she acts like she is everything. During Dovile’s performances girls booed her as a form of disapproving to her actions. The girls felt Dovile’s advantages, realized that they are not able to compete with her in art or social context and it frustrated them. The girls thought that Dovile deliberately emphasised her supposed superiority, in order to make them feel worthless. The class teacher explained with her what the tolerance is, asked if they would like to be in Dovile’s place. The response was the silence or "don't know". There was not regret about their behavior even though after the talk they tried to keep bullying a secret, but continued to bully.


Class teacher asked class boys opinion. Each and everyone one of them said that bullying is a very bad thing. Many didn’t even understand why it is aimed to Dovile: after all, she is such a cool chick. They said that the girls are simply stupid at this point and the majority agreed that Dovile wants to be different, but it is her personal business. They didn’t want to discuss it further with teacher or with the girls as it is not a serious issue. They mostly laughed. They saw the intrigues amongst the girls, but didn’t want to stand in the middle of it.


In this particular case, the teachers, apparently, only from the catching personal discussions may have been aware of such a refined way of bullying their class friend Dovile. Teachers couldn’t even imagine that someone could bully this kind of child.
Whereas the described case was known only to a small group of people and appeared in one class, it was left unsolved, and a year later it was forgotten about.


The head of the school was not informed, however, it is known that he thought very high about this particular student — after all, the school needs creative students. This situation could be resolved without a school managers’ assistance. Often the head of the school is not informed about bullying cases, because usually his reaction doesn’t meet teachers’ and also students’ expectations.


It is well known that Dovile’s mother knew about daughter’s position in the class from her own lips (the girl confessed to class teacher). The teacher didn’t inform the mother because the girl asked not to. Only in early spring during parents’ day the mother told the teacher Dovile had already settled with bullying and they are both waiting till the end of the school year, when the she could change school. Mother felt powerless because she did not know how to help her daughter, which asked to step aside from the whole thing so she patiently waited, she even didn’t ask teachers about daughters emotional state or educational progress or anything at all, she was just not interest in it.
The parents of bullying girls were and still are not aware as far as the school knows about this situation, because their daughters didn’t talk about it, and teacher didn’t inform their families.


The social educator about this situation was not informed.
In this situation it was not enough to ask once if the girl needed help, it's normal that the answer was no. But all the teacher’s and the girl's conversation indicates that she felt very bad, that she actually recognized the need for help since the situation was not normal, it required additional work. Here perhaps social educator would have been helpful. In addition, and the bullying girls didn’t feel well too, they felt humiliated.


It is very important to notice that since a girl is said to be a very good student (her average is 8,2) it is not perceived as a very good average in our society, because according to education law very good student is if he/she has, to start with, 9,0 average. So it is one point that is observed as being inadequate in described bullying case.
Another point is that if the girl consciously tried to provoke her friends and rub their noses because she felt superior - it is not a very kind and rightful behavior. So it is only expected that from some point bullying may become very present.
Moreover, it is unexplained why social educator didn't want to know or pretended not knowing about this case, because she has to be actively involved in schools' life and very alert to catch all kinds of students emotional signs of suffer or being hurt - basically do her job and not to sit in her office and wait for teacher or student to report to her.
As a result, the girl didn't receive any help, she had to deal with bullying by herself and consequently went to another school.


Since the victim was sufficiently strong, she abandoned the help, and it was a handy to class teacher because she didn’t have to deal with the problem anymore. The parents of similar situations should be informed and activated involved in problem solving process. On the other hand, parents as well, by defending the interests of their child should be more involved and aware and actively interested in child’s life.
It can be summed up as the fact that adolescents in the uneven inner maturity, different approaches to friendship, loyalty, class unity and many other things often provoke a much larger conflict and even disasters and tragedies.


Тормозена заради таланти.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

The case of Dovile clearly shows how difference can cause problems in adolescence. Therefore, as in the previous case, I think that an intervention specifically focused on social identity, interpersonal relationships and the fact of needing to be part of a group in adolescence should be provided to students.
Moreover, I feel that, for the psychosocial plan, few elements have been deployed in this situation. In his case, it was properly fixed, but it could have degenerated, so I think we have undoubtedly to educate the team about the importance of relaying such situations towards specialized psychosocial teams.

Date: 25.03.2012

Posted by: Lusi Nikolova
Type of school: Vocational school
Country: Bulgaria

Despite the fact that the bullied girl tries to act as a grown up person, her decision not to make a public complaint and thus invoke a solution is rather premature. The problem would have most probably escalated if the girls stayed at this school longer. In spite of her decision, the girl was hurt and will bear this bad memory for a long time. The teacher and the mother of the girl are the ones who had to take appropriate measures to actually solve the problem. It is true that teenagers can often be very jealous because of other peers' talents and skills, because they all need to feel and express themselves as "number 1", however, very often teenagers, as well as grown ups in fact, are also unable to withhold or express in appropriate manner their skills and abilities in order not to hurt others and not make them feel insignificant. The situation is indeed quite complex and requires a lot of attention so that a proper strategy for future response to similar cases to be developed and implemented.

Date: 18.03.2012

Country: Greece

Bulling because of having talents is a common case in most schools especially in primary schools as well as in low grade classes in junior high school. Usually this kind of bulling does not include physical violence but mainly verbal one. In this age every child would like to be in the centre of the world around him/her as the best and most capable and talented child between the others. A jealously is often developed and expressed in different ways against the most active and talented students. In any case it is a difficult situation for the teachers to handle it.
In the case of Doville the teachers’ reactions were in the correct dimension. They spoke with Doville, her parents and the other students. Discussions with all persons involved in such cases are of great importance. Students with talents often screen themselves to others and behave as they are superior to other students. Discussions with the talented students and their parents are of great importance in order for them to realized that every human been have a special talent in life. This talent may be expressed in different age and in different case for each one of us. Every person’s talents are important and useful only when they are serving the common good. It is very important for every person to use his/her talent in order to offer to the community, to help other people and to work to benefit the small community around him/her.
The other students who fill that they have no a specific talent should be advised by teachers that everybody have a talent and they should try to find out their own. They should be advised that they should not bully the talented students and try to work with them in order to gain experience and knowledge by them. Students’ parents should be educated and informed in how to handle this situation with their children.
A school counsellor or a social educator would be offer great advice to both sides of students on how to behave. Unfortunately in Greek schools there is no a school counsellor or a social educator. So, teachers should take the responsibility to work with students on this field. A special education on handling such kind of cases at school should be offered to teachers, especially to teachers of primary schools who have in practice the whole pedagogical responsibility for their students.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Maria Cristina Giannotti - Massimo Di Paolo
Type of school: High School
Country: Italia

Victims of bullying are often people who have talents and abilities above average and are therefore not understood and appreciated by the group. As a result, they are isolated. This is an example of female bullying. It is a growing phenomenon. Bullying among women is frequently psychological and verbal, but in recent years, it has become increasingly similar to the male model and it often takes the form of physical aggression.
In this case, the bullying manifested itself in a rather subtle way because Dovile never had explicit threats, but was subjected to "friends" who deeply humiliated her. As often happens, Dovile, feeling shame, never denounced the attacks of her bully friends. And when teachers tried to help her she specifically asked to avoid talking about these events publicly. Another reaction that is frequently observed is that the victims believe they are the cause of bullying. They blame their own behavior. The attitude of Dovile's mother was definitely not helpful because instead of inviting her daughter to react and defend herself, she encouraged her passive behavior.
The group hasn’t had a positive attitude. None of the classmates defended Dovile on the contrary they were in bullies’ favor considering her too eccentric for his behavior and his way of dressing.
Most of the teachers have chosen to ignore the problem. The headmaster has not even been informed because it was considered inadequate to address this situation. It should not be that students, parents and teachers haven’t confidence in the institution school when it should be the first place where children should understand the importance of the tolerance and the respect. Schools should have a point of listening and a psychological support for victims and teachers should play a constant supervision and control to act promptly in cases of bullying.

Date: 07.03.2012

Posted by: Reyes Holagado Sánchez
Type of school: Concerted
Country: Spain

Not many weeks ago we had a very similar case in our center. This is a student in sixth grade, academically very good, half of outstanding (9), sportsman, because practice and compete in the form of rhythmic gymnastics and personally charming.
Since last year when they entered her group of friends other girls also very good academically began to notice that her friends criticized her lifetime. Often came to me and commented that wearing the uniform skirt too short, which constantly boasted of their ability. At first I did not pay much attention, but this year went further. One day after recess found her crying. He had been called slut and whore .. In our center, no place for these comments and do not let you talk and peer, so I started investigating.
In contrast to what happens in that case on my mother not long in coming to school to tell me what happened, asking for explanations and solutions, and I told him to solve. No telling who are the deceived girl things because it seemed to me very serious situation. As the mother also thought that if change of school, but I assured him that everything would change.
Leaving the mother through the door and was telling what happened to the center's director and head of the Department of coexistence which always worried the case and helped me fix it.
I inquired and found out that a colleague had made an inappropriate comment and this to go from mouth to mouth was increasing in intensity and evil and eventually be classified as a whore and publicly said recess.
He spoke with the station's message asked for forgiveness a thousand times never thought that his comment could have ended up in those words. Those who never set out to spread the message also asked for forgiveness. I tried to show them as he felt his partner, to feel empathy. All of them opened a file for trying so a mate and they were for days at recess talking about it, about the importance of respect for colleagues.
I tutor of the class I met with each of the parents of the students related to the case and told all their support. Well some things said that were girls, but were also punished at home.
Since those days though girls are not as friendly as antespero negate the bad reviews. None admitted being envious of the girl with so much talent, but it was obvious that this was what was happening. The good news is that every time some one gets mad or someone comes and tells me and try to fix it.
The strategy to solve this case or cases like these I think are the time and willingness to listen, but it is also imperative the confidence that the student and the family have on the teacher. In our school we thought that a close relationship with parents helps prevent such cases may re-emerge.

Date: 25.02.2012

Posted by: Helen Redhead
Type of school: 11-16 Comprehensive
Country: UK

■We do not have this particular issue as a problem in our school. Here it is seen to be cool to be clever and different. Here students who show characteristics like the bullied student are valued by their peer group. If the girl was arrogant or put others down that of course would be a different issue. Our strong uniform and make up policy also does diminish any situations like the one above.
■In the case of this girl we would have followed a similar approach, speaking to the students and the girl and her parents
■There are students who are provocative victims and perhaps this might be a case like this.In which case she needs help with her own social skills as well
■All staff and students need to aim to create an ethos in the school where it is seen as the best thing to be clever and succeed
■A strong tutor programme and PSHE programme would be important in tackling the issue. Carrer planning and opportunities that are available in society for those who work hard and succeed. Also help in dealing with provocative victims like the girl in question
■Training in how to achieve the above would be useful. Helping students to realise their own value and worth and social skills training in being respectful of everyone no matter who they are and what their abilities or appearance.

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