Bullying in schools worsened by the crisis

In most cases the victim is removed not the bully (Flickr: David Woo)

THE economic crisis has had a detrimental effect on incidences of bullying in schools. Francisco Sorolla, secretary of Avalcae, an anti-harassment group based in Alicante that works to protect children from bullying in schools, revealed on June 16 that in the last two years there have been 1,170 complaints of bullying, an average approaching 600 children per year being harassed, with no likelihood that the situation will improve. “There are even more cases that go unreported,” he said, adding: “Children often do not complain that they are being bullied through embarrassment or fear.”
Unfortunately, in 90 per cent of cases of bullying, the victim is the one who is transferred to another school, not the perpetrator, with head teachers taking the line of least resistance to avoid excessive paperwork and consultations with parents. When the victim is removed, school management has only to deal with one set of parents, whereas in many bullying instances there is more than one child involved in inflicting distress upon the vulnerable party, meaning multiple interviews ensue.
In instances where the school takes the proper course to expel bullies, the process of expulsion is so lengthy the victim’s suffering is prolonged.
Another problem is that in many schools pastoral care has been abandoned due to cuts, leaving children with nowhere to complain other than to senior teaching staff.
Bullying can start amongst children as young as five, although in the bulk of cases it is most rife between the ages of nine to sixteen and most aggressive among thirteen and fourteen-year-olds.

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