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How to Stop Violence in Schools


It seems that a sense of kindness has left school walls today, replaced by the laws of the jungle. Sad cases of humiliation and beatings have occurred, of course, before. But today, school psychologists, children's psychotherapists and teachers say that ridicule, abuse and rudeness are becoming the norm not only in the communication of students, but also children with adults. They talked about it openly after the television series "School" *. Opinions were divided: some claimed that they knew everything that was happening on the screen, while others refused to believe it. What is really happening in schools?

Defensive aggression

40% of Moscow teenagers say that they (at least once) were ridiculed in front of the class, 26% know what it means to be humiliated by classmates or a teacher, 6% were beaten at school **. “They call, push, humiliate, spoil personal things, as a rule, of those children who are somewhat different from others from the standards adopted in the children's group,” says school psychologist Tatyana Bednik. Even small children are extremely rude and cruel. 42% of parents of boys and girls 4-12 years old regularly observed the violent behavior of their children 's peers ***. Another 23% remember isolated cases of aggression, 10% of parents say that sometimes their own child behaves this way. And only 24% never experienced child cruelty. How could this happen? “Too many children today feel completely defenseless,” Tatyana Bednik regrets. - They live in an unstable time and in an unstable family (divorce of parents, adult fear of losing their jobs, financial difficulties in the family ...). The school, or rather, continuous changes in the system of its requirements makes children even more insecure. And they are protected from everyone and everything at once. They defend themselves as they can. ”

“Not only children, but also teachers feel uncomfortable in conditions of disrespectful, and sometimes just aggressive attitude from colleagues and the administration,” says existential psychologist Natalya Dyatko. “It’s hard to show empathy for a child if you don’t feel safe.” How to put an end to mutual aggression? “The first condition is absolute indifference,” said Anatoly Bershtein, a history teacher ****. - You can’t pretend that there is no violence, not pay attention to it. The self-determination of adults, the suppression of what happened, always only complicates the situation of children. But it is necessary to react depending on the situation, finding out its causes and carefully selecting the methods of influence - there are no universal recipes. ”

Create a safety atmosphere


The atmosphere in the school is what primarily determines the behavior of students, the actions of teachers. We feel it right away, as soon as we go to school - according to how we greet, talk to us, how adults and children behave in school. Of course, children bring their rules of communication to school - from home, from the street, but the style of relations at school, its tone, its unwritten rules, almost always win. The attention of adults, the support of the administration, and school affairs uniting students and teachers create a special space for school life in which everyone - a child and an adult - will feel safe.

Prevent fights

24-year-old Alexander, a physics teacher, intervened in the fight of eighth-graders and as a result received a fracture of the foot. He demanded that the school administration discuss the situation at the teacher's council, but the director preferred to hush up the scandal. “This is a dramatic situation,” Tatyana Bednik comments, “because not punishing means not only not protecting the teacher, but also leaving the teenagers alone with anxiety caused by the fact that their act remained unanswered. In this case, continued violence is inevitable: without knowing the boundaries of what is permissible, children will continue to freely display aggression. ” The boundaries of behavior are determined by the rules and sanctions for their violation. “Without them, any conversations remain only words, a concussion,” Natalya Dyatko recalls. “Experienced teachers from the very beginning of work in the class agree with the children about the rules, and they accept them - unless, of course, the rules are dictated by common sense and do not degrade their dignity.”

“It is also important to teach children a peaceful style of communication,” adds Tatyana Bednik. Talking about the most important thing for them (at different ages, these are different topics), explaining, arguing, giving them a voice and listening carefully to the children is necessary in order to teach them how to resolve conflicts and defend their position with words, not fists. “It’s good when there is a tradition to get together as a whole class and discuss what everyone cares about right now,” says Natalya Dyatko. - At the same time, the teacher talks with the students about what bothers him. He is an equal participant in the discussion and does not take the position "I know everything and now I will tell you what to do." The meaning of these meetings is to learn to hear each other, to find clear arguments and to question the position of another person, but not to humiliate him. ” In some ways, these meetings resemble previous meetings of the detachment council and classroom hours. Why not if the method works?

Suppress humiliation

Evil jokes, humiliating nicknames, ridicule with which children shower each other, can cause constant hostility. “In our class, everyone calls each other names, taunts,” says 13-year-old Andrei, who finds it very difficult to live in school. “And if you don’t do it yourself, you immediately become a victim.” Children know each other's weaknesses and beat to where it hurts. “This behavior is especially common among adolescents who need to establish themselves in the eyes of classmates,” says Tatyana Bednik. “The advent of the scapegoat rallies peers and they get even angrier.” Aggressiveness of younger schoolchildren more often occurs as a reaction to psychological trauma. “A lot of children face physical and emotional abuse every day, suffer from beating at home,” says Natalya Dyatko. “They have nowhere to wait for protection.” The violence they show is essentially a cry for help. ” Among the "angry" students there are those who find it difficult to establish relationships with others. They feel like outcasts, victims, outsiders. “Their increased aggressiveness is just a desperate attempt to gain recognition,” the psychologist continues. “It is not due to the influence of the group, but to unresolved psychological problems.”

What should a teacher do if a child is humiliated

Children cannot cope with violence and rudeness on their own. Psychologist Lyudmila Petranovskaya * offers the following algorithm for the action of adults.

  • 1. Name out loud what is happening in the classroom. If one of the children is deliberately brought to tears, teased, taken away (hidden, spoiled), his things are pushed, tweaked, beaten, and they are ignored underlined - this is bullying, violence. Tell the children about it directly. Sometimes this alone is enough to stop the violence.
  • 2. Explain to the students that what is happening is the problem of the whole class, and not the personal hostility of two or three people. This is a disease that can affect a class and even school. Such a conversation will help children save face and, most importantly, remove the opposition between victims, offenders and witnesses.
  • 3. Insist: such behavior is unacceptable under any circumstances. Do not argue about the facts, do not find out who and what exactly did. But help the children understand what is happening to them and what other people feel when they are offended, humiliated.
  • 4. Together with students formulate the rules of life in the classroom. “Nobody clears up our relations with our fists,” “They don’t insult each other,” “They don’t look at us calmly, when two fight, they’re separated.” For older children, the rule may sound like this: “If I see that I hurt and offend a person, I will immediately stop doing this.” Discuss the sanctions that follow if you violate these rules. Then in the future it will be enough just to recall the arrangements.
  • 5. Maintain an atmosphere of understanding in the classroom. Let the children feel that its creation is their common cause and joint victory.

* Author of the book "What to do if ..." (Avanta +, 2010).

What should teachers do in this situation? “Intervene, do not remain indifferent,” Anatoly Bershtein repeats. “The school atmosphere is cultivated and controlled precisely by adults, so we are responsible for what happens in the school.” The adult has a duty to protect the child, and the children are waiting for this. Moreover, violence always affects not only direct participants and victims, but also its witnesses. “Witnesses unwittingly become accomplices,” continues Anatoly Bershtein. “Some people become infected with aggression themselves, others feel shame and guilt for their inaction.” It is important for teachers to ensure that they do not provoke violence voluntarily or involuntarily. Sometimes a casual remark is thrown enough: “Say thanks to Petrov, because of which the whole class remained unchanged” to start the persecution. Another dangerous weapon for adults is irony, sarcasm. Children feel like laughing at them, but it is difficult for them to respond to verbal aggression. But humor, harmless and malicious, on the contrary, helps defuse tense situations.


Respond to rudeness

“Rudeness cannot be left unpunished,” Anatoly Bershtein insists. - It is necessary to respond, even if not immediately, - sometimes it takes time to cool. And each time to understand what it is caused by, what is behind it. " When the rules of school life are violated (and rudeness is just such a violation), this must be followed by punishment - all our experts agree with this. It is important that the sanctions be consistent with the act. “If a child cursed (and adolescents have a common thing: they involuntarily measure their strength with us), it is best to react with humor,” advises Tatyana Bednik. “It instantly restores distance and reduces passions.”

“There is a category of children,” continues Anatoly Bershtein, “who, seeing the teacher’s weaknesses, are rude, but do it gracefully, subtly. They make fun of the way the teacher is dressed, his taste, or his mistake on the board. And then they make a surprised face: “What did I say? I didn’t mean anything, I simply noted - isn’t that so? ”Usually these are smart children who perfectly understand that they are rude. But they are absolutely unable to bear shame and guilt. ”

“The task of the teacher is to see what rudeness hides behind itself, what really hurts the child, and to be able to answer him,” Natalya Dyatko believes. Adults should not only declare that violence is unacceptable, but also enforce this rule.

  • “Scarecrow” Vladimir Zheleznikov Strength of spirit and self-righteousness helps sixth-grader Lena Bessoltseva survive in the persecution arranged by her classmates (AST, 2011).
  • “Jester” Yuri Vyazemsky Starting with a game as a noble knight, a teenager turns into a brutal “superman”. But the system of rules he has built turns against him (AST, 2010).
  • The “gap” by Simon Lelich This story confirms that behind each case of school violence is the indifference of adults, even if the victim is a young teacher and his offenders are a group of high school students (Phantom Press, 2011).
  • “Young Years” Archibald Cronin To cope with bullying in an English school, an Irish boy learns boxing and challenges a strongest student to a duel (Krom, 1994).

Develop empathy

To teach children to understand the feelings of their own and other people is one of the tasks of upbringing. “We simply have to develop empathy in children, this excellent ability to understand (without appreciating) the words, emotions, beliefs of another person and what they mean to him,” Tatyana Bednik is sure. - You can use games, trainings for this, at which children will be able to realize what the other feels when they offend him. Or feel the limits of what is permissible for myself and others: I will not harm you and I will not allow you to harm me. ” “Today, many values ​​are being eroded, so teachers need to explain to children the actions of other people over and over again and, of course, show by their own example that nobody is allowed to humiliate a person,” agrees Anatoly Bershtein. - It is necessary to cultivate self-esteem in children. This is a long process, which includes a personal example of a teacher, and communication in the classroom, and human relationships after class. ”

Patience, rationality, generosity - these qualities add up to tolerance, recognition of the right (for oneself and others) to be different. It is her absence that is increasingly becoming the cause of violence at school. “The law of tolerance is simple: put yourself in the place of another,” says Natalya Dyatko. - To teach a child to be calm and tolerant of the fact that the other is not like himself, you can first of all by example. If the teacher tells the children how important tolerance is, but he himself is enraged by one type of informal clothing, he only teaches a lesson in hypocrisy. ”

Unite by common business

Nothing changes children like a common cause. This can be group work in the classroom (project execution), theatrical production or joint trips and trips. The main thing is that every child really participates. And this primarily depends on the teacher. “When the children know that no one here will say:“ You are not suitable for us ”, that the role, even the smallest, can be found for everyone, and the general result depends on their diligence (really), the need to be aggressive goes away by itself,” explains Natalya Dyatko. Children who work together are more likely than others to be mutually supportive and generally more friendly and sociable *****. Thanks to a common cause, a new relationship arises between them, they learn to support each other, exchange opinions, be responsible for their part of the work and intervene in the work of classmates if they need help.

* The television series premiered on January 11, 2010 on Channel One.

** The study "The Problem of Violence against Children" was conducted among Moscow schoolchildren aged 14-18 years old by the Faculty of Sociology of Moscow State University M.V. Lomonosov in 2010.

*** The survey was conducted on our website from April 5 to April 25, 2011.

**** The author of the books “School Blues. Self-portrait on the background of the profession ”,“ Stay after the lessons ”(Akron, 1996, 1997).

After another incident in Buryatia, lawmakers propose restricting access to dangerous content on the Internet and toughening the requirements for the protection of educational institutions.

Photo: TASS / Egor Aleev

The second attack on the school in the last week took place in Ulan-Ude - a ninth-grader with an ax in his hands attacked school students on January 19 in the Sosnovy Bor microdistrict. Prior to this, the teenager set fire to the classroom with a Molotov cocktail. Seven people were injured, three of them, including the teacher, are in serious condition.

Perm tragedy repeated

After the incident, the attacker tried to commit suicide. A criminal case has been instituted on the fact of the incident. Prior to this, a similar incident occurred in one of Perm schools. On January 15, a conflict arose between former and current students on the territory of the 127th school of Motovilikhinsky district, which turned into stab stabbing. As a result of the incident, 15 people were injured. The teacher received the most serious wounds Natalya Shagulinatrying to protect children.

Anatoly Vyborny: Perm massacre has proven that school security standards should be implemented throughout Russia

Law enforcement agencies have already promised to verify the version that the attacks on schools in Perm and Ulan-Ude were connected to each other through social networks. And the deputy minister of communications and mass communications Alexey Volin said that after these attacks, Roskomnadzor will block groups on social networks that encourage teenagers to violence. This will be done in the same way as with suicidal communities.

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky called what is happening epidemic. “Freedom of the press and information is needed, but children love to imitate,” he said. “They cannot always evaluate what is good and what is bad.” They see from all screens, on all radio stations, on all sites, about how a student attacked a school. Why not repeat it? "

According to the deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science Larisa Tutova, the causes of what is happening are rooted not only in the problems of the teenage period, but also in the unprecedented, sophisticated activities of groups and communities of inadequate and sometimes extremist nature on the Internet.

“According to established information, law enforcement agencies who staged a massacre in a Perm school were inspired by the Columbine groups on social networks. Новая субкультура, приверженцы которой называют себя колумбайнерами, пропагандирует политический акт против публичного унижения, травли и запугивания учеников учителями и сверстниками», — сказала Тутова «Парламентской газете».

Она убеждена, что школьным психологам и учителям по всей стране сегодня нужно ещё раз повнимательнее присмотреться к своим сложным подросткам. «Очень важно научить детей конструктивному выходу из конфликтной ситуации, умению проговаривать проблемы, — уточнила законодатель. - It is important to have a trustee and create an atmosphere so that the student can talk about what is happening to the school psychologist or someone he trusts. It should be understood that not so much protection as sensitive teachers, caring parents and competent psychologists will help avoid school tragedies. ”

How to solve the problem comprehensively

“These tragic cases harshly outlined two problems that need to be addressed urgently,” says First Deputy Chairperson of the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Franz Klintsevich. - The first is the safety of schools. The second is the state of mental health of the younger generation as a whole. The second problem, of course, is much more serious. "

Levin: Roskomnadzor has the ability to quickly block groups promoting violence

"The problem of a comprehensive sense" called the incident and the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Education and Science Oleg Smolin. “We have already caught up with Europe in this part and are steadily catching up with the USA,” the deputy stated in a conversation with the correspondent of the “Parliamentary Newspaper”. “And there’s no set of simple solutions that would quickly deal with this problem.”

The parliamentarian indicated that there are several reasons for school violence. “The children watched the Internet, TV, and decided to do both in the USA. You can try to follow the French path: the French Minister of Education proposed to fine parents who do not control the behavior of children on social networks and on the Internet. But I don’t think that this will have a big effect, because good families are already worried about it, and those who are disadvantaged will not become good, ”he said.

We’ll put the framework, as in airports, and the first children will start early in the morning, the last at two in the afternoon.

According to the parliamentarian, the main reason for the events is an aggressive social and informational environment, as well as the active introduction of the so-called “dead education” system in schools. “Schools today are forced to work on indicators, on reports, teachers are superloaded with lessons in order to earn something, and they simply don’t have time for children,” Oleg Smolin explained. “The problem must be solved comprehensively, but the general direction should be this: returning from the system of“ dead education ”to the system of living education.”

As for the proposals to oblige teachers to browse students' social networks, according to Oleg Smolin, this is unlikely to produce any tangible results. “Firstly, teachers simply do not have time for this,” he explained. “Secondly, modern children navigate the Internet better than teachers, and nothing prevents them from changing accounts, switching to other social networks.”

The reason for the state of emergency in the school of Buryatia could be a lack of attention to children in the family, said Pushkin

First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Federal Structure and Local Government Issues Igor Sapko He supported the initiative of the Russian Guard to tighten the requirements for private security organizations that provide services to schools. “We need to develop a single regulation for the whole country and common safety standards for all educational institutions, according to which specialists, taking into account a number of factors and requirements, including fire safety, will determine where evacuation exits, turnstiles and CCTV cameras should be located,” - stressed the deputy. Vice Speaker of the State Duma Irina Yarovaya called for a full general audit of the operation of the “panic buttons” created in secondary schools for emergency calls by the police and the Ministry of Emergencies: “Today it is necessary to re-evaluate how schools have complied with these requirements, how quickly they use the modern communication options with the Ministry of Emergencies, with authorized police ".

Teachers are waiting for amendments to the law

At the same time, the teachers themselves indicate that such tragedies cannot be prevented by mere concern for the safety of schools. “In order to stop this, it is necessary to change specific articles of laws,” the Honored Teacher of Russia, Director of the Education Center No. 109 told the Parliamentary Newspaper Eugene Yamburg. - I will give only one example. The number of children with neuropsychiatric disorders is increasing. In child morbidity, psychoneurology comes first. But, even with the most powerful psychological service, without the consent of the parents, the school does not have the right to conduct a serious examination of the child, or send its student to the medical-psychological-pedagogical commission. Here we are absolutely powerless. ”

Every parent, teacher, class teacher should be especially attentive to children now. Indifference now is a crime.

According to Eugene Yamburg, a school psychologist can inform the school principal that they are studying a child from whom this psychologist suspects schizophrenia. “People with this diagnosis have a very subtle intellect, but their emotionality is impaired. For example, someone will show such a child a language - everything, he already does not control himself, ”the expert explained. - However, on this message from the psychologist, it all ends. The director “secretly knows” about this, but teachers can only watch such a child. If they bring him to an appointment with a psychiatrist, this is a court case, a violation of personal space. Parents themselves often do not want to deal with this problem and do not pay any attention to the recommendations of the school psychologist. ”

As for additional safety measures in schools, they, according to Eugene Yamburg, will not produce results. “What will help us with the scope of metal detectors, which are so much talked about now?” He asked. - Five thousand children study at our school. We’ll set the framework, as in airports, and the first children will start early in the morning, the last at two in the afternoon ”

With the fact that what happened is not only a security problem, agrees the director of the Moscow gymnasium No. 1520 named after Kaptsov, teacher of the year of Russia 2012, Vita Kirichenko. “Undoubtedly, this does not eliminate the need to systematically take care of safety in schools. However, the main thing now is to be restrained for everyone, especially in emotional evaluations. The words “responsibility” and “professionalism” should be key to all of us. This is not someone else’s misfortune; it concerns each of us. Every parent, teacher, class teacher should be especially attentive to children now. Indifference now is a crime, ”she told the Parliamentary newspaper.