Bullying Prevention in Schools

22 Jan, 2016

Nonviolent Communication Institute with the support of Open Society Georgia Foundation launches the project on the prevention of bulling in schools. Project presentation was held on January 22, at Open Society Georgia Foundation office.

This is a pilot program aimed at coping with bullying in schools, which will be implemented in two private schools – ‘Green School’ and ‘Korali’ in Tbilisi. The project aims to prevent bullying in certain schools and to develop an effective mechanism that could be used by private, as well as by public schools. The developed methodology will be aimed at the reduction of the various forms of abuse among the peers and at the improvement of the learning environment.

At the first stage of the project, the working group will study and evaluate the organizational culture of the school, relationships between pupils, pupils and teachers, teachers and parents, based on which the bullying coping mechanisms will be developed: Training materials and methodologies will be prepared. Training of the school representatives (school administration, staff, teachers, parents, pupils of different age groups) and other activities will be carried out at the final stage. The methodology will be based on the research results and it will be accessible for private schools, as well as for the Ministry of Education, ready for implementing the program in public schools. In 2015, a study of bullying in public schools (“Homophobic Bullying in Public Schools,” Ana Subeliani, Acho Khachidze) revealed that the major part of students are experiencing discrimination on different grounds. Among the major reasons, the problem of common stereotypes and acceptance of differences has been outlined. Teens often become victims of bullying for religious, gender identity, sexual orientation, different image and beliefs. The survey has revealed that over a certain period of schooling, mostly in the 7-9 classes, most of the students are participants of bullying. Teens are involved in bullying as participants, victims or just observers.

Rise in suicides among children has been much sharper recently. This is nearly alarming statistics. In the recommendations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child it is stated that one of the major causes of child suicide is the violence against them, which includes the school bullying.

However, the Ministry of Education still ignores the mentioned problem. Bullying prevention strategy and mechanism have not been yet prepared. The Law on Education, Ethics codes and guidelines do not promote a safe environment in schools.

“Our organization has been working on these issues since 2014. Despite the six months of active negotiations with the Ministry of Education, no effective steps have been taken for solving the problem, including the fact that the organization was not allowed to pilot the program in public schools. Therefore, our pilot program includes only two private schools and will be implemented without the participation of the Ministry” – said the representative of Nonviolent Communication Institute Ana Subeliani.