March 6: International Day Against Bullying and Violence in Schools

On the occasion of the International Day Against Bullying and Violence in Schools on March 6, the Observatory of Social Inclusion gathered data on this issue, which is taking on ever increasing dimensions in Greece. These data were recorded during the three cycles of the Observatory’s field surveys in Municipalities of the South Aegean Region.


School bullying is a phenomenon of juvenile delinquency, expressed by the use of violence between students or peers, with the aim of causing fear, pain or inconvenience. The most common manifestations of violence at school are verbal attacks/insults/threats, hitting, destruction or theft of personal items, exclusion from groups/games/activities, etc.


School violence and bullying are phenomena that are reinforced by their wrong treatment, since most incidents are silenced because they are considered to stigmatize the perpetrators, the victims and the school environment. However, these phenomena cause numerous and serious effects, both on the physical and mental health, as well as the psychosocial development of the child, sometimes with dangerous consequences and tragic results.


During the surveys of the Observatory in Municipalities of the South Aegean, in the period 2020-2023, the existence of an increasing trend of incidents of bullying and violence at school among male and female students was reported by the majority of Social Services and Community Centers visited by the research teams. As shown through the interviews with the executives of the above services, the factors that had a negative impact on and contributed to the increase of these incidents are summarized in the following points:


-Financial and other difficulties caused conflicts within the family, and as a result, the children also transferred the tension and violence to school and/or became recipients of school bullying.

-The confinement due to the restrictive measures of the pandemic.

– Mandatory distance learning during the pandemic, which deeply affected students in terms of school performance as well as socialization.

-The constant change of human resources in schools (substitute teachers), the possible shortages of teachers but also the lack of specialties such as psychologists and social workers in all school units.


Regarding dealing with the phenomenon, it is worth noting that the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sport has already voted on a targeted bill to tackle school violence and bullying, with the “We Live in Harmony Together, Breaking the Silence! (Ζούμε Αρμονικά Μαζί, Σπάμε τη Σιωπή!)” Program. The aim of the Program is the prevention, the educational approach, the treatment and protection of children and adolescents from all forms of violence and school bullying as well as the creation of safe, inclusive school and educational environments.


The aforementioned program includes measures, such as the doubling of psychologists and social workers, the strengthening of support agencies, the introduction of relevant topics in the Skills Workshops, etc. Moreover, in the context of the new program, a) new structures for dealing with school violence, b) systematic teacher training, and c) a platform for named or anonymous reports of incidents of school violence will be introduced.


From the above, it can be seen that actions are deemed necessary at the level of informing students, teachers, parents and guardians as well as at institutional level. It is now considered necessary to introduce new specialties in schools, such as psychologists/child psychologists, social workers, sociologists, etc., which has already started in some Municipalities. Equally important is the placement of parallel support teachers for students facing learning and/or educational difficulties.


In addition, it would be useful to introduce lessons for the promotion of diversity as well as for the cultivation of empathy in children from an early age. As pointed out by the social workers of the structures, socially oriented schools are needed, which will prioritize the multifaceted development of students and not only school performance. Apart from the aforementioned, the training of teachers in social issues is considered very important, as well as their staying for more years in a school, since this is how relationships of trust between teachers and students are cultivated. At the same time, it is easier to find out if a child is facing difficulties at home in order to provide them with professional help.


Finally, in addition to the awareness-raising actions carried out regularly by both schools and social agencies, it is imperative to emphasize the prevention of such phenomena in the school and family environment, as today’s children are tomorrow’s adult citizens of our country.






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