Bullying in Schools – Breaking the Silence
Le Gouvernement Princier a souhaité que les établissements scolaires de la Principauté s’associent pleinement à la journée « Non au harcèlement » qui se déroulera le jeudi 3 novembre 2016, témoignant ainsi tout son intérêt pour la lutte contre cette violence en milieu scolaire souvent invisible mais dont les conséquences peuvent être graves.
The Prince's Government wished schools in the Principality to be fully associated with the "No to Bullying" day to be held on Thursday 3 November 2016, thereby demonstrating its commitment to combating this form of violence in the school environment – violence that is often invisible, but can have serious consequences.
The aim of this day event is to enable pupils to speak freely about this phenomenon by encouraging them to reflect on bullying while informing them of ways of avoiding it or putting an end to it. In this regard, all State schools in the Principality and private schools under contract to the Principality will be involved in the "No to Bullying" day, via practical activities.
In the primary sector, Year 6 pupils will take part in an awareness-raising and preventative session organised in class by their teacher. They will express what they have learned in this session in a written or artistic activity. Reflecting on this topic and performing small plays on this theme will enable pupils to have a more practical approach to bullying and the need to face it in an appropriate way. It is planned for a school psychologist to be present in many schools for the occasion.
With regard to secondary schools, all the pupils will be offered educational activities that are appropriate to the level of each class. They will be invited to take an active part in drawing or writing workshops. They will also be encouraged to communicate on this topic in school and outside the classroom, through a publicity campaign – with a slideshow and by creating posters and messages to be shown on the backgrounds of computer screens, etc. The wide range of activities chosen will make it possible to inform secondary and high school pupils about bullying in a variety of different yet complementary ways.
At this day event, an anonymous questionnaire will be distributed to pupils in Years 9 and 10 to find out about bullying in more detail and assess the impact of preventative activities undertaken among schoolchildren. A similar questionnaire was distributed in 2015. It showed that only eight of the 400 pupils in Year 9 stated that they were being bullied, i.e. a proportion (2%) that is slightly lower than the French average.
This "No to Bullying" day is thus part of the plan of activities and prevention implemented by the Department of Education, Youth and Sport to combat bullying in schools.
The plan focuses on three main areas:
1. Prevention and Detection:
Firstly, it must be remembered that the internal regulations of schools in the Principality do not merely include a definition of bullying, but mention it explicitly as a form of violence that is subject to sanctions. Substantial human resources have been mobilised to ensure a very high level of educational support for children who attend school in Monaco. As part of a high quality partnership with the Department of Education, Youth and Sport, sessions on the theme of preventing bullying and cyber-bullying are organised annually for one hour per class for Years 4 to 10, in conjunction with the "Action Innocence" association. Finally, to defuse growing conflicts between pupils, a peer mediation process is in operation at the Collège Charles III.
Specific training on bullying is offered to adults who work with pupils in schools, to anticipate and detect possible cases of bullying.
3. Dealing with Bullying:
A protocol to deal with suspected bullying has been drawn up and disseminated to management teams and those dealing with various aspects of school life. For exceptionally serious cases, the Liaison Officer for School Life at the Department of Education, Youth and Sport is in direct contact with a designated officer from the Police Department. If the situation so requires, the Public Prosecutor is informed.
Maintaining and creating a calm atmosphere in schools in the Principality is a priority for the Department of Education, Youth and Sport. The Principality's participation in this day event, which was initiated by the French Republic, once again confirms the wish of the Prince's Government to offer all pupils in Monaco the best possible conditions for learning and personal development.