Did you know that you and your children have rights at school in Spain? It seems very obvious but it is not.
In these times, it's better to keep an eye on your children at school, listen to them and believe them.
Always more often, situations of total lack of control are taking place where anything can happen, at any age, including bullying.
With the resolution of September 26th, 2007 (Boja nr. 224- nov. 14th, 2007) it became mandatory to give publicity to the action protocol that the education centres must follow in case of bullying, mistreatment or discrimination, in order to grant the security and protection as well as the continuity of learning, in the best conditions.
This resolution first of all explains what bullying is and what are its characteristics:
- Imbalance of power (physical, psychological or social)
- Intentionality and repetition
- Lack of defence and personalization (normally the victim is only one)
Types of bullying between equals could be one or more of the following:
- Exclusion or social marginalization
- Verbal aggression
- Direct and indirect aggression
- Intimidation, threaten, blackmail
- Harassment or sexual abuse
Obviously it will produce consequences for the victim, the aggressor and also for the observant companions (it can lead into a passive and obliging conduct in front of injustices).
If you only suspect that your child could find himself in this kind of situation, you MUST communicate it to the school, with no hesitation at all.
Be prepared to be strong and patience with your child and with the people you will have to deal with. In fact, it could happen to crash against a stinky mentality of "jungle law - only the strongest will survive". Luckily we are not in ancient Sparta, so we will not throw from the cliff those who seem more sensitive or not so aggressive!
Some of the signs that usually appears as symptoms of bullying, are:
- Physical lesions (i.e. the kid comes from the recess with hurts or blows)
- Broken or lost of kid's belongings
- Frequent changes of humour
- Sadness and symptoms of depression
- Loneliness and no relationships at school
- Fall of the scholastic yield
- Fear to go to school
- Psychosomatic symptoms (vomiting, belly hurting, etc.) before going to school
- The child does not want to speak about the school.
In the same way, you will have to worry even if you think your child could be a bully, especially if you notice a complete absence of empathy, lack of respect, continuously breaching the norms or if the kid is too aggressive or overbearing.
The protocol outlines a series of simple and effective steps, starting from the identification/ communication and denunciation of the case.
You need to know that the directive team has to meet immediately, by law.
If someone will tell you that your suspects are groundless or will try to convince you that you are overreacting in order to protect your child or, even worse, that you or your child are inventing everything, you can immediately get in contact with the Inspector from "Junta de Andalucía": he will advise you by phone or come personally to verify the situation.
The school team (headmaster, teacher and a centre advisor - normally a psychologist) will analyse and value the necessary intervention and, if needed, adopt urgent measures to support and protect the victim as well as to censure the aggressor.
After that, a proper investigation will start. The families will be informed, as well as all the competent authorities and will be collected all the necessary information through interviews, observing the kids, talking to the companions etc.
Finally, will be elaborated an action plan, working inside the "triangle of bullying" - victim, aggressor and audience - and helping families and teachers to support the kids and correct the wrong conduct.
It is important to know that it's also your right, if necessary, to ask for and obtain a school transfer.