One student out of two is the victim of bullying in schools in Romania

One student out of two is a victim of bullying, and over 80% have witnessed various attacks that happened in their school. There are alarming figures from the Save the Children Romania organization, which thus raises an alarm: violence in schools is a phenomenon totally out of control and with one of the most serious effects on children's psyche.

Bullying, a phenomenon out of control. Photo source: archive

In an attempt to signal the phenomenon and fight against it, the Save the Children Romania organization expands the anti-bullying program in kindergartens and schools. The announcement was made during the 3rd edition of the regional conference “The right to break without bullying – cooperation and good practices for safe educational communities”, organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, in Târgu Mureș.

“Most often, bullying behaviors are hidden from the eyes of adults and continue in the absence of specific intervention measures. So bullying has consequences for everyone – even those who initially don't seem involved. That is why it is important to involve the whole community, on several levels, so that these behaviors are prevented. Bullying is the problem of children, it affects concentration and school performance, social exclusion and humiliation leave deep emotional wounds, but the responsibility of setting a framework based on tolerance, care, respect and courage lies with adults – parents and teachers“, said Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of Save the Children Romania.

An overwhelming percentage of students, 81% to be exact, state that they have witnessed bullying situations in the school where they study, and more than a quarter, 28%, of them state that they have often witnessed bullying in the educational institution they attend and very often in such situations. These are the conclusions of the most recent investigation carried out two years ago by Save the Children Romania. The figures are higher than those indicated by the Save the Children study in 2016, when 73% of students said they witnessed such situations at school.

School as a jungle: 1 in 2 students, the victim of violence and verbal abuse

At the end of the 2021 – 2022 school year, Save the Children Romania conducted an online consultation in which 4,449 students between the ages of 10 and 18 participated, and the conclusions are among the most alarming:

Almost half of the respondents, 49%, state that they were victims of bullying, while 1 in 10 say that they often or very often found themselves in such situations. The evolution of the percentage of these students from 29% in 2016 to 49% in 2022 is also worrying.

81% of students, i.e. more than 4 out of 5, state that they have witnessed bullying situations in the school they attend. 28% state that they have witnessed such situations often and very often. The percentages are higher than those indicated by the Save the Children study in 2016, when 73% of students said they had witnessed such situations, and a high frequency was indicated by 22.7% of respondents.

Social networks are indicated as an environment where children frequently witness bullying situations, 79% of respondents stated that they witnessed such situations, and 45% said that they witnessed often and very often.

Even more worrying is the fact that over a quarter of the students, 27%, admit that they were in the position of author of acts of bullying. In contrast, the proportion of those who admit high frequencies of this behavior is only 2%.

84% of the students state that in bullying situations they actively intervened to support the victim, and 54% claim that they adopted this attitude often or very often.

77% of the students stated that in bullying situations the adult who intervenes is the head teacher. 51% of the children said that the principal intervened to resolve the conflict. 2% of students said that no one intervenes in such situations.

How we fight bullying in schools

The Save the Children Romania organization supports approximately 130 schools in the process of establishing anti-bullying action groups. What can be done to eradicate violence and verbal aggression in schools? Teachers, students and parents answered this question and the most important thing is the cultivation of respect and empathy. Then, an important role is played by the students' participation in setting the rules in the school, respecting the students' opinion on how the fields and other school activities are conducted. Last but not least, emotional support from teachers is essential to combat this type of behavior.