Description of Contents
Every day teachers can be confronted to situations that are difficult and complex to manage: physical or verbal violence between students, abuse, cyberbullying, contentious relationships between school and parents, bad environment in the classroom …
Those many situations may require emergency measures while the emotional impact on the educational team and students can be strong. The problem can be sometimes so complex that it is difficult to understand it.
In those situations, how to react, what is important to think about, what are the resource people and services that can be called, what are the existing procedures, what prevention actions can be set up?
The “practical guide to prevent and manage violence at school” provides education professionals with points of reference on the subject.
It is not a booklet but a dynamic and interactive platform.
The objective of this platform is to equip educational team against violence. It gives concrete ideas of action. It advises to set up awareness measures. It reminds the applicable legal and administrative obligations while encouraging schools to foresee crisis situations.
Concretely, the guide includes 142 pages and is made up of 5 parts:
• Awareness measures
This part suggests implementing measures to improve the general environment at school (a space for listening, for well-being, peer mediation, delegation of students, cooperative games, teacher continuing training, school rule, ...) without focussing on one particular problem. This is a global approach, with an educational perspective, focussed on learning how to “live together”.
• Targeted prevention measures
This part addresses the different sides of violence. It gives concrete ideas depending on the problem (physical verbal or sexual violence, racketeering, vandalism, theft, weapons, antisocial behaviour, cyber-violence …). One chapter is dedicated to crisis intervention, often the consequences of dramatic events such as a suicide or bereavement. This part also contains recommendations for communication with the media and for collaboration with the police services.
• Help services
This part presents the different internal (mediation, mobile team, psycho-medico-social agents, reschooling services, toll-free number ...) and external help services (Youth right, family planning, mental health services …), the school can call when it is confronted to acts of violence or serious events, as well as the various actors in health and well-being at school.
This part lists the existing administrative procedures for victims of violence (to record the wounds, hire a lawyer, press charges...) and for the perpetrators (disciplinary sanctions, definitive expulsion, penal procedure …).
• Legal and administrative obligations
This last part reminds the legal and administrative obligations that fall to headmasters in case of violence or serious events (notifying the facts, civil responsibility of the teaching staff, professional confidentiality ...).
The guide is addressed to teachers, often in the firing line in case of violence, and to all the staff members of schools: headmasters, counsellors, administrative staff and workers …
This tool was necessary and awaited by the professionals of education for violence has increased ceaselessly in recent years.
The guide is thorough and instructive. The various sides of violence are analysed and dissected.
Thanks to its electronic form it is easy to use. The reader can browse from one section to another depending on the searched topic.
This new guide usefully complement existing services, such as the toll-free numbers “Assistance Écoles” for school staff members and “École et parents” for students’ relatives, “mobile assistance teams” for primary schools or “mediation” for secondary schools. Those different services come up after acts of violence to find solutions, while the new guide addresses violence prevention.
The transferability potential
The problem of school violence has no boarders. All European countries are confronted to it and try more or less successfully to solve it. The suggestions offered by the Belgian guide are good practices to share and experiment in other countries.
The guide is available for free on the website of education in the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.