Violence in schools: The dread of cyber-bullying

Violence in schools: The dread of cyber-bullying
By Euronews
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Violence in schools is a fact of life for many people around the world.

Harassment, intimidation, cyber-bullying, threats, assaults – they all have a negative impact on educational outcome.

We look at what lies behind violence in schools and what can be done to stamp it out, in this edition of Learning World.

In Canada the suicide of Amanda Todd and her YouTube posting, viewed by 25 million after her death, threw a global spotlight on cyber-bullying.

Jennifer Shapka, a professor at the University of British Colombia, said: “The digital media keeps the initial bullying instance in its most potent original form, as well as the victim can never escape it. It follows them through mobile devices into their own home or even their own bedroom.”

Most experts agree that building trusting relationships and developing empathy between children and adults is key to the solution.

Students are now able to report incidents of bullying anonymously online. And some schools are engaging in restorative justice programmes to bring the bully face-to-face with the victim.

Alejandro Castro Santander is a member of the International Observatory on Violence in Schools, based in France.

He told euronews: “Today we could talk about three different ways of preventing bullying, all three must be applied. First: universal prevention taught to all pupils. We are talking there about an emotional and social education. Second: secondary prevention for those pupils at risk, and third prevention measures addressed to victims and bullies.”

Pupils are not the only victims of intimidation and bullying in France, teacher Chantal Viroulaud had a nasty surprise when a bottle of acid was left behind in her classroom, to do her harm.

She said: “What could have happened if one of the students had not told me, I would have picked up the bottle. I would have bent down to pick it up to show it to the class, but leaning over it it could have exploded in my face or by showing it to the class it could have blown up in my hands. I say how could we let these children go so far, where are the barriers.”

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