Education is the key to building peaceful societies. Nevertheless, scientific studies show that many children and adolescents experience bullying, either as victims, as perpetrators, or as bystanders. Bullying in schools or institutions has always happened, but it has only been in recent decades that the topic has taken up the media and instigated various debates around the world.
Bullying is a group problem where the set of rules in a class or group has changed over a long time. Bullying is referred to when a child is upset, provoked, exposed, or excluded several times by several children over some time without the child being able to stop the attack alone. Bullying can come in many forms. These violent actions can be done directly or indirectly and occur in all age groups.
Several studies have attempted to analyze and recognize the psychological profile of both perpetrators and victims. Studies show that perpetrators often use bullying to improve their self-esteem and enjoy the power they exert over the victim. On the other hand, victims tend to be introverted people with low self-esteem.
At the end of 2018, Unicef conducted an extensive study according to which half of the teenagers were ever victims of violence and bullying. Also, over the past few years, the form of violence has changed. Kids and teens communicate earlier and earlier with friends through messengers or chats; they enter social networks and give likes or shares. Nowadays, teens are online; this development has been leveraged by the growing use of the internet and social media. These trends have made the Internet a reflection of society in many ways. Thus, in the online universe, there are many advantages as well as problematic aspects, including bullying. Therefore, we must intervene early and establish together a concept of prevention in schools.
Essential criteria of the school environment include, in addition to the quality of teaching and learning processes and the general conditions of a school, physical and mental safety, and positive relationships within the school community. Correspondingly, the prevention of violence and bullying plays a vital role. For this reason, the Swiss-Brazilian School of Curitiba takes a global school policy as its starting point and is applying prevention at three different school levels to prevent the onset of violence or reduce it.
- Firstly, at the level of the school life experience, it is essential to create a supportive school culture that defines values and norms and cultivates a good coexistence according to which students and teachers can orient themselves. Clear models and rules help give behavioral standards and guidance.
Preventive measures such as a violence-free school culture, break planning, social learning and a solid foundation for communication are all integrated into our school program.
- Second, at the class level, clear rules of behavior should be defined, outlining which behavior is expected and which is undesirable and not tolerable. Students should develop the rules for socializing with each other as well as develop more empathy to understand when a bullying dynamic arises. Students who go with the flow and those who endure quietly have to be encouraged to intervene with bullying.
Also, an instrument is developed for dealing with conflicts with the constructive possibilities of conflict resolution. Also part of this are student-fight-reconciliation programs.
- Thirdly, prevention is also about eliminating possible causes, raising awareness of the problem of bullying, as well as providing effective intervention and disciplinary measures. For this reason, the Swiss-Brazilian School of Curitiba puts a collaborative effort in the foreground, including parents. At this level, a group of engaged and selected parents created the prevention project called “Culture for Peace” at the Swiss-Brazilian School and developed a mediation project. They periodically organize preventive workshops for the school community.
All measures in the area of bullying prevention have proven to have positive effects on the whole school climate and our school culture.
Blum, Heike; Beck, Detlef: No Blame Approach – Mobbing-Intervention in der Schule – Praxishandbuch [No Blame Approach – Intervention in School Bullying – Practical Guide]. fairaend: Köln, 2014
Huber A. A. (Hrsg). (2015, 3. Auflage). Anti-Mobbing-Strategien für die Schulen. Praxisratgeber zur erfolgreichen und nachhaltigen Intervention [Anti-bullying strategies for schools. Practical guide to successful and sustainable intervention]. Köln: Wolters Kluwer