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WE EXPEL VIOLENCE - Together we build a better future! Ziduri Secondary School, Buzau

Violence weakens the pupils’ connection with school, feelings of fear and insecurity are triggered - events that are since the beginning incompatible with the purpose of education and come in conflict with the right to learn in a safe and friendly environment. Through the proposed project, the 5th grade students have big chances of generating positive changes, in the pupils’ behaviour, because they have identified two issues, violence and discrimination as being very common among children lately, not only in school but in the society as well.

Through the activities and actions carried out - campaign promoting the rights of children and responsibilities, prevention and control of violence and discrimination - the project team considered that these phenomena will be “expelled” from school and lasting relationships, of friendship, respect, tolerance and cooperation between students will be built.

The team presented the project to the entire school, to all the teachers and representatives of the student council. The aim was to convince them that together they can generate the change, underlining the fact that they need to know, every time they witness an act of violence or while it is still in its initial state and planning of, they feel threatened, intimidated, verbally or physically abused by other children or adults, they can address the head teacher, another teacher they trust or the school principal, directly or through telephone, verbally or in writing, through SMS, email. The proposals from different classes were summarized and rules of conduct were put in place for the learning institution.

The team work done through the rules of conduct contributed to the feeling of belonging for mutually agreed things and raised the feeling of responsibility for everyone to respect these rules.

A story of change facilitated by Mrs. Stoinoiu-Morogan Cerasela

List the problems identified by the pupils:

  • In school:

  • Violence

  • Discrimination

  • Lack of a sports hall

  • In the community/village

  • Poverty due to lack of places to work

  • Violence

  • Discrimination

  • Pollution

  • Lack of sewage and running water

  • In the family

  • Lack of parents due to them working abroad

  • Violence

  • Lack of internet

  • Limited access to technology

Explain what problem was chosen to be solved and why.

Pupil chose to solve the problem with violence and discrimination because they wish to live in a safe environment, friendly and recreational, where everyone feels valued, to be informed regarding to the problem of violence and that of discrimination, to develop their abilities of critical thinking, of predicting consequences, controlling their own emotions and understanding the feelings and emotions of others. This will allow them to identify and avoid risk situations, as well as identifying the violence with others.

What people are most affected by this problem? What is bothering them?

The most affected in the school environment, in general, are the pupils from younger grades or pupils with CES who are bullied by older colleagues; then children who live in families where different forms of abuse or negligence takes place, where parents consume alcohol, families with a single parent, with a low wage and with many children, or where one or both parents living abroad.

Labeling, insults, teasing, intimidation, threads - verbal violence and physical aggression - pushing around, fights, unsettles the students.

List all the solutions you thought of.

  • Creating a working group to maintain a positive atmosphere in class together with head teachers. On going attractive activities proposed by pupils.

  • Creating informative materials to raise awareness regarding the problem of violence, negligence, exploitation and of the consequences of all forms of abuse over health and child development.

  • Discussions carried out with the school administration to receive support in the proposed activities.

  • Carrying out informative activities among pupils to prevent and combat violence in school and to promote children’s rights and responsibilities.

Which of these solutions was chosen to implement and why?

Creating informative activities among pupils to prevent and combat violence in school and to promote children’s rights and responsibilities by a working group comprised of students and teachers.

Briefly describe the process of implementing your solution/solutions

Pupils created a working group that coordinated the entire activity. Among the group flyers and posters were made.

The project was presented to the school administration and to the pupils representatives asking for their support in carrying out this activity.

They made a seminar to inform the pupils and teachers where they presented the identified problem, potential causes and ways to prevent and combat, which can be achieved together by teams of pupil-pupil or pupil-teacher.

What are the results or the impact of your project?

Pupils realised that if they want to change something, they have to start with themselves because the power of change comes from within. The working group created, counselled the pupils involved in acts of violence to be aware of the destructive manner of the violent behaviour and its effects on their self-development and the development of others.

For the pupils that have experienced violence or discrimination, they were assured they if anything happened to them, in the institution or outside, there are people and structures they can go to and that these will react according to the legal provisions. They were told that it is oral to ask for help when they cannot handle the situation alone.

Together with head teachers, they established that a reflection journal will be introduced in the counselling sessions. This journal is a daily reflection of their own behaviour and the impact these have on their own persona and on those around them.

How many people benefited from your solution?

20 - 50 people

What did the people who benefited from the solution say? Write 2 quotes or opinions.

“ Creating a working group within the school to combat violence and discrimination in the school environment, that also encompasses students’ representatives and head teachers, is an innovative and surprising idea, especially since it came from 5th grade pupils. Their involvement sounds extraordinary to me and I think they will succeed in becoming examples/models for their colleagues” (School principal)

“If the pupils are informed and take part in as many teaching extracurricular actions as possible, that present the negative impact of manifesting a violent or discriminating behaviour of their own person and of others, they will develop and maintain friendships without violence and discrimination. Supporting pupils will develop their courage and their trust.” (students’ representative. 8th grade).

What difficulties did you encounter while implementing the project and how did you overcome them?

Resistance coming from pupils who did not understand from the beginning how important collaboration and the power of personal example is!

How long did it take to implement the solution?

7-15 days

What did you do to promote the project in your school or in the community? With whom did the pupils talk to about the project? What answers did they receive?

  • We discussed with the school administration regarding the problems identified by pupils and and the solutions proposed by them.

  • We made posters that were put up in visible places for students and school personnel, parents and visitors.

  • We made informative seminars for pupils and head teachers in which we received positive feedback for our proposals/solutions regarding the prevention and combating violence and discrimination.

  • We posted pictures taken along the implementation process of SIAC method together with a presentation of the activities on the school’s Facebook page and the school website.

Approximately, with how many people did you talk to about the project?

20 - 50 people

Briefly, how do you plan on sustaining the project in the future?

Maintaining and developing a working group within school, created within the project, as well as extending the bonds with other institutions (Hall, Police, Church) by organising extracurricular activities in partnership, in order to prevent and combat violence, both in the school environment and in the community.

Organizing a workshop annually, where key students groups from the project will initiate new new teams of students to design and edit informative materials, to organise workshops and informative campaigns, issue informative materials in the school magazine and webpages.

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