Counter-action against bullying in CISC, anti-bullying policy, algorithm of actions
- What bullying means?
Bullying is not a conflict, it is a conscious violent behaviour towards others, demonstrated repeatedly. The nature of bullying stems from the society that justifies the violence with “good intentions”, hides the violence behind the mask of an “educational process” etc. The children see the examples of violent behaviour which is not being stopped, and accept it as normal.
- International experience
Colleen MacLaughlin, international expert in bullying, professor of educational faculty in Cambridge, is convinced that the worst reaction adults can show to bullying is public punishment. Various studies show that it simply doesn’t work. Even the victims do not like this course of action, because they are later attacked even more by their offenders.
In 1980s in the UK several ways to handle bullying were developed: the teachers were specially trained to solve problems arising within the groups of children. They applied several different methods depending on the situation. In general, those methods were similar to the ones applied in work with the criminals and their victims, in peaceful settlement and in family therapy.
In Canada the counter-action against bullying involved students, applying the Dewey’s method (practical line of education). For instance, when a group of active senior students is gathered to have a training, and then each of them is assigned to supervise a junior student. The supervisor’s task is to take interest in the student under his/her care, to smile, shake hands, and to notify the school psychologist if the younger student is sad or complaining.
According to UNICEF calculations, 67% of the children in Ukraine with age from 11 to 17 faced bullying, and only a small number of them tells the adults about it. The term “Bullying” was introduced for the first time by the Law of Ukraine dated January 19, 2019. That’s why currently Ukraine has no systematic approach to counteraction against bullying, no strategies or policy.
The scheme below demonstrates the statistical data related to bullying among the teenagers of Ukraine, published at unicef.org/ukraine. You can see that the children who suffered bullying are the least likely to address the teachers for support. This may be caused by the low level of trust, fear that the problem will be made public. That’s why the schools must, first of all, do every thing possible to create an atmosphere of trust, where the children will not be afraid to share their problems with the teachers, mentors or school psychologists, where they will be sure that instead of judgment they will get the support and assistance they need.
- Counter-action against bullying at CISC
In CISC, we have developed a Program for protection of personality, or the Anti-bullying program, where we specified the criteria to detect bullying, the steps for anyone who faces bullying, notices it or hears a complaint about it.
At the beginning of the school year new employees pass the training to learn the School’s position concerning zero tolerance of violent behaviour, including bullying, and to help them accept and support such position.
All the students at the beginning of September, at “I am a Personality” classes «learn or repeat the rules of conduct in a situation where thay dislike or feel unpleasant from the way they are treated. And during the whole year the teachers will remind about it.
We also discuss with the students that in case of unpleasant or humiliating actions they should always engage adults. And, most importantly, we teach the children not to be indifferent observers, to protest against violence to others and to tell the adults about such situations.
«At reflection and self-analysis sessions with our mentors we raise the topic of bullying, discuss and analyze this issue. And several times per semester the school psychologist comes to visit us, and we pass the bullying detection tests, after which the psychologist (anonimously, of course) tells each students about the results and offers certain support and advice if it is necessary.»
- Algorithm of actions if bullying is detected in CISC
Bullying detected within a class will cause a scope of actions:
1) parents of whole class will be informed and advised to discuss the topic with their children
2) joint work of the school team will be initiated (representative of the management, psychology counselor, tutor/mentor) in cooperation with the parents of the bullying student and the student who has been bullied, as well as the students of the whole class;
3) an external expert may be engaged, if necessary, in accordance with the laws of Ukraine.
The adults may not remain passive observers in this case. If humiliating or violent behaviour and actions are detected, the adults will interfere – stop it and notify the tutor/mentor. The latter will act according to the algorithm of actions approved in CISC.
- Conflict resolution
One of the principles for interaction within the CISC – «CISC is the territory of friends». It is closely related to such value as respect which is promoted within the CISC. We are learning, and we encourage attentiveness, empathy and non-violent behaviour. Accordingly, the conflicts are resolved by figuring out each other’s needs and satisfying them, taking into account each party’s interests.
«Conflicts may arise anywhere, and they will not merely disappear by themselves. But they can be avoided by knowing the basic reasons. Usually they are related to communication issues, misunderstanding, hasty judgment and rash decisions. Our class goes with the motto «You have to be guided by the power of your mind, not your fists». Together with the class teacher, we initiated gathering in circles where we discuss current issues together with the students. And we had personal discussions with each student whenever we had the chance. I stick to the opinion that little strokes fell great oaks, meaning that constant and goal-oriented discussion of the ways to resolve the problems will help us grow great personalities. It’s essential that we be sustainable and friendly from the inside, care for what we speak and what we think.
By the end of the third grade we managed to help the children grow into little philosophers who, as our tradition goes, can form a circle themselves at any moment to solve their problems. It’s so nice and touching. But such result is possible only if there is a harmonious interaction between the children and their parents as well. We are applying efforts to create a positive and pleasant atmosphere both within the school and outside it. All this may seem simple, but it’s effective and allows us to avoid bullying. Because we eradicate even the slightest chance of bullying from the first days of working with the class. And our students constantly remember that we are a single team and that we must care for each other.»
- Rules of treating a bully
1) If you are bullied, tell an adult about it.
2) If your classmate bullies someone else, tell him that you are against it, then inform an adult, or simply inform an adult about the situation.
3) If you don’t know the bully personally or don’t know which class he/she is from, address the nearest adult and inform about the situation.
- Why address for help? Are there any people who object to «stop bulling» position?
Yes, we all support life without bullying, but our life experience may be full of cases when we just accepted violence against us as normal, or “swallowed” our pride. Our vision may be blurred, and we may simply pass beside bullying without even noticing it. That’s why we need the consiousness and the power to recognize that our previous experience was not normal, it was unacceptable.
- Is it possible to avoid bullying?
«In my opinion, bullying can not be totally avoided, it will arise from time to time. But if we react promptly and treat it as unacceptable, we will keep it rare. In the atmosphere where talking about each other’s need and wishes is normal, the conflicts are settled amicably, each other’s feelings are respected, bullying will eventually disappear. That’s what we strive for.»
🎥 Watch a webinar by Olena Petrushkevyc, Psychology expert in CISC Network of schools: «Bullying: what to do if a child is being bullied»