School bullying: numbers, what to do, who to talk to

School bullying affects 1 in 10 children. How to know if a child is being bullied and what steps to take in the event of proven bullying. Answers.

  School bullying: numbers, what to do, who to talk to

School is not always a place of fulfillment for children. Many are victims of school harassment . Between humiliations, threats and blows, the young victims suffer in silence, sometimes for years, physical and moral harm. A situation that they conceal for the most part, out of shame and fear of reprisals. And the vicious circle sets in like this: the executioner comforts himself in an increasingly greater and threatening grip, and the victim hides in his silence and isolates himself. The psychological consequences are devastating, and many harassed young people try to put a radical end to their ordeal. The older ones too, because students in higher education are not spared hazing. In numbers, in France, nearly 1 student in 10 is harassed each year , or out of 12 million students more than a million children and among them, perhaps your child. Hence the importance of doing prevention with parents, students but also educational staff and witnesses of these situations.

What are the numbers for school bullying?

  • More 700,000 students are victims of school bullying in France, i.e. nearly one in ten children.
  • According to UNESCO, more than 30% of students worldwide have been bullied.
  • Most of the time, the cases of harassment begin from primary school (12%), while 10% of college students are harassed and 4% in high school.
  • According to the Center Hubertine Auclert, '55% of students in a bullying situation are affected by cyberviolence '. Girls are more exposed to specific forms of cyber-violence, gender-based and sexual. In particular, they are three times more affected by acts of sexting.
  • The cyber harassment concern 20% of children , according to the survey carried out by the Audirep institute for Caisse d'Epargne and the association e-Enfance/3018 . It takes shape in primary school, and worsens from middle school.

What are the different cases of school bullying?

The harassment suffered by a school child can take different forms: it can be physical violence (blows, wounds), psychological (mockery, threats, hurtful gestures and words, etc.), or even sexual. Generally, one or more students - sometimes even adults or teachers - exercise this violence on another student who cannot defend himself. But ' in all these cases of harassment, psychological violence remains omnipresent “, specifies Hélène Romano, psychologist.

It's important to also distinguish harassment from violence . Sometimes, it indeed happens that children fight or show a violent attitude, but without the will to harass the other. ' In the case of harassment, there is a notion of duration and intent to harm ' , explains the psychologist. It is in fact a a repeated act, which takes place over time and who is done for the purpose of hurting the other. Moreover, if a person files a complaint for harassment, he will have to prove that this is not the first time that this act has occurred and that it is intentional. Moreover, with the new means of communication, school bullying takes on a new form: cyber harassment .

Where does school bullying take place?

School bullying, as the name suggests, mostly occurs within schools and occurs at all ages. It is a scourge that can take place from primary school, and continue in college and high school. Professional establishments, universities and even grandes écoles are not spared, and hazing rituals or integration rites have endangered (psychological and/or physical) many young students . Nevertheless, if school bullying begins at school, the traumas it generates do not settle at the foot of the gate at the end of class. These also take place at home, and can impact a child in all areas of his life, wherever he is, even tens of kilometers from his school.

School bullying: what are the signs?

Your child no longer wants to go to school, invents excuses to stay at home, he is marked with bruises, his school things are sometimes damaged, you find him exhausted, he has problems, he isolates himself and no longer wants to invite his classmates to his birthday... So many signs to watch out for. Indeed, a child who is harassed at school often tends not to speak about it to his parents, for fear of disappointing him or for fear of reprisals. Here is 5 signs to look out for when bullying at school:

School bullying: what does the law say?

'The law punishes school bullying , but also school violence and provocation to suicide. Victims can alert the school management and associations. They can also ask the courts to criminally condemn the perpetrator of the harassment and to repair their damage. “, specifies the government.

Offense of school bullying: what are the penalties?

In 2022, the deputies definitively adopted a bill which formalizes the creation of the offense of school bullying. The bill refers to the initial or continuing training of adults, insists on the importance of prevention and provides that digital platforms are obliged to moderate their content. But its flagship measure is the creation of a specific offense of school harassment which will be punishable by three years' imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros when it causes total incapacity for work (ITT) less than or equal to eight days, or even if it has not led to ITT. If the ITT exceeds 8 days, this offense will be liable to ten years imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros when the facts have led the victim to commit suicide or to attempt to do so. Otherwise, the are guilty of acts of school bullying over the age of 13 will see their sentence indexed to the number of aggravating circumstances, in particular if the victim is under the age of 15, and if the perpetrator knew of his vulnerability (physical or mental disability, illness).

How do you talk about bullying with your child?

You should know that a child who is the victim of bullying will not dare or find it difficult to talk about himself to his parents. And even if it is not him who broaches the subject, he will not answer the truth for fear of disappointing. To the question (a little too direct) 'Are you bullied at school? ', the child will answer 'No', or will confirm that everything is going well at school... A way of reassuring those around them who are worried about them. So rather than talking about it too directly with them, Hélène Romano advises talk about how you feel as parent et d' approach the subject in a way that does not involve your child directly: 'I know that in some schools there are cases of bullying... I was wondering if in your school it was the same and if there were children who bothered you sometimes? '. The dialogue must also be constructive, advises the psychologist. The child must understand that he can count on his parents and that in such a case, they would be present to help him, support him, and take the necessary steps to put an end to this harassment.

In this case, the Harcelometer tool can also be useful for discussing this subject with your child.

What if my child is bullied at school?

In the event of harassment of a child at school, parents need to know that they are not alone in their efforts. ' If your child is being bullied at school, it is preferable to include these steps in a medical framework by consulting a health professional who, in conjunction with the school doctor, will examine the child and determine his physical and psychological state ', recommends Hélène Romano, psychologist. The child will then be able to benefit from care and above all from medical and school assistance which will allow him to no longer attend school for a period, just like a sick adult who stops working. Indeed, if the child suffers too much physically or psychologically, the doctor can then establish a report which will allow him to benefit from a Individualized Reception Project (PAI ). This is why it is important to go through a health professional. Following this observation, doctors and parents take stock together with the management of the establishment. If the parents wish to go further, depending on the situation, they can approach advisers at the academic level or mediators at the regional level who can then intervene in the child's school. This relay is therefore important, especially since some schools can sometimes react with denial in the face of cases of harassment, which represent a failure for their establishment.

School bullying and toll-free number: who to contact?

School bullying: Should we change schools or not?

If the child asks to change class or school, yes. It can sometimes be for the good of the child, a way of protecting it (in certain cases). On the other hand, if he makes this request and is refused by forcing him to return to school, it will be all the more difficult for him. Depending on the steps taken, parents can also be helped to change schools. The child can then be given priority to be assigned where he wishes. Parents must then enter the academic directorate of national education services (Dasen) to request a change of institution.

How to sensitize other children, those who harass?

Awareness-raising actions have been implemented in schools by the Ministry of Education, which wishes in particular to improve the training of teachers and the care of families. In addition, when the establishments are willing, workshops allow the subject to be tackled with individualized arrangements. Furthermore, there are several profiles of 'stalkers' :

  • those who have themselves been harassed or who are victims of violence at home;
  • those who go with the flow but are still sorry for the consequences;
  • and finally, the bullies who feel no empathy.

The latter have apparently not integrated social taboos or values ​​of respect and have no sensitivity. Thereby, ' leaders are the most difficult to deal with, but it is important to be able to spot them to better isolate them “, specifies the psychologist. Indeed, when working with other children, the leader then finds himself isolated and can no longer exercise as much power over his victim.

Films and books to tackle the subject of school bullying

On the subject of bullying at school, there are several references from films and books, for children, adolescents but also adults and families. These mediums can be a good way to put words and images on what harassment is and sometimes to encourage victims to speak up. They are also good resources for people who witness these situations and even for parents, who do not always know how to react when they suspect a change in their child.