International day of ‘bullying’: recipes to combat it

Ana is nervous when she arrives at school. Her palms are sweaty and her stomach hurts. One of her classmates, Emma, ​​is very dominant. She takes the lunch away from the others and decides who plays and who doesn’t play in the yard. She is bossy. This scene -so real in everyday school life- belongs to ‘Today you don’t play’, a children’s story by Pilar Serrano with which to teach sons and daughters how to identify ‘bullying’ and how to combat it.

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School bullying is not a game. They are not children’s things. It is not a punctual fight. Is a physical, psychological or verbal abuse that occurs repeatedly in classrooms or on social networks.

In Spain, near 17% of 15-year-olds -compared to 23% on average in the OECD- has suffered bullying, according to the 2018 PISA report. On the occasion of the international day against ‘bullying’ (May 2), the association No to Bullying (Nace) launches the ‘I do believe you’ campaign, a feminist motto now aimed at empowering children and young people who suffer harassment from their peers. Fight it it’s everyone’s business: students, teachers, parents and policy makers.

The harassed person feels misunderstood and questioned, so most of the time he falls into a state of helplessness and disappointment that will take you to mutism. “If we don’t believe her, she won’t speak again. To this is added the reproach of colleagues who, if the issue transcends because it has not been treated with the necessary confidentiality by adults, they will call him a informer & rdquor ;, explains a spokeswoman for born. The association denounces that the lack of teacher training on ‘bullying’ issues makes teachers “incapable of dismantling the word informer & rdquor ;. It’s not a matter of being sneaky. It’s a matter of being brave, supportive and empathetic.

“Sometimes the cracks are the ones who defend, not the ones who attack & rdquor ;. Under this premise the Atletico Madrid has published a video in which a child is teased by his classmates in the school canteen. When one of them throws food at him, another kid stops the blow with a tray. “Against bullying, courage and heart& rdquor ;, concludes the emotional campaign. Wrapping up the harassed and confronting the harassers and never laughing at the ‘thank you’ is, in fact, one of the main recipes against ‘bullying’. In the children’s story ‘Today you don’t play’, little Ana’s ordeal ends when the rest of the boys and girls in the class join her in front of the dictator Emma.

Claudia Bruna, author of the essay ‘Educating against bullying’, gives some clues: “Because they want to pretend to be important, because they have problems, because perhaps their parents are not educating them in the most correct way, or because they are being harassed and are full of rage & rdquor ;. Bruna insists that, unable to regulate their emotions, many stalkers pursue a feeling of superiority toward others, especially those who seem vulnerable. Unfortunately, power offers them popularity, attention and leadership. On many occasions and for different reasons, the bully feels jealous towards the harassed of him, for example, for getting better grades.

Awareness against ‘bullying’ has to start from childhood. Bookstores are full of stories so that mothers and fathers read with their children and they learn to identify and combat bullying. ‘Today you don’t play’ is an example. Another is ‘The garden of hugs’written by José Antonio Luengo and published by Feel, a publisher specializing in raising awareness of children’s issues, from sexual abuse to illness or loss. The protagonist of the book, Tesa, observes that her friend Víctor de Ella is sad during breaks. The reason is that there are colleagues who laugh at him and make derogatory comments. What can Tesa do? Should she give importance to what is happening or is it better that she let it go?

Put yourself in the place of the other to respect and understand their emotions and feelings is essential to promote school coexistence. The Ministry of Education has developed a project with Samsung called ‘Empathy coursein which the students are witnesses, with virtual reality glasses, of a case of ‘cyberbullying’.

Never look the other way

“The monsters are not only the executioners but also those who look the other way.” The sentence is from Eloy Morenoauthor of children’s literature whose latest novel, ‘Invisible’, is a ‘hit’ among schoolchildren. Based on real events, it tells the story of a bullied boy who does not understand what is happening to him and invents a parallel reality: being invisible. The germ of the book was, precisely, the meeting that Moreno had with a friend who had been a victim of her and who 20 years later she was still crying every time she talked about it. Another of the reference books for schoolchildren is the best seller ‘Wonder, August’s lesson’, in which the New Yorker Raquel J. Palacio narrates the landing at school of a boy who suffers from a serious facial malformation caused by a rare disease. she has the unconditional love of their parents (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson in the film version that was released in 2017) but the cruelty of many of his companions makes him suffer. In the US, the book is included among the required curricular readings for teachers to raise the debate on ‘bullying’ with their students.

Watch movies, including ‘Carrie’

Throughout the course, many schools organize specific talks aimed not only at students – with the assistance, even, of members of the Police – but also at their fathers and mothers, key players in the fight against ‘bullying’. Another option is to recover films that reflect this scar. The terrifying ‘Carrie’ (Brian de Palma, 1976) is a classic, which was revisited in 2013. Based on the novel by Stephen King, shows how a shy girl with a mentally unstable mother and a religious fanatic is hated by all her peers. In Spain, filmmakers Jose Corbacho and Juan Cruz resorted in 2008 to bullied teachers and students and bullies in real life to write the script for ‘Cowards’. A teacher, fed up with the conflicts in class, told them: “I have studied competitive examinations to teach history, not to be a police officer & rdquor ;. Cowards is available on the platform filminwhere you can also see another Spanish film that reflects the bullying in a high school chillingly, ‘Bullying’, of Josetxo San Mateo.

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