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PTA in Bela Crkva against school violence
November 21st, 2016

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PTA in Bela Crkva against school violence
December 8, 2008
“Recognizing the importance of a national youth strategy, we have partnered up with the project ‘’I can and I want to say no to violence’’, the Parent-Teacher Association ‘Skola Plus’ (School Plus) from Bela Crkva says.

'I can and I want to say no to violence' is financied by the Ministry of Sport and Youth of the Republic of Serbia.

Research by UNICEF has shown that almost a third of elementary-school pupils in Serbia experienced some kind of physical or verbal violence at school. (Also see “Background”, lower down in this news item.)

UNICEF in Serbia, together with a number of its partners, has been running a programme entitled “School without Violence – Towards Safe and Enabling Environment” since 2005. The Unicef programme is based on different programmes aimed at prevention of violence and bullying conducted in Europe and the world. UNICEF’s programme so far includes 137 schools across Serbia and it plans to take another 50 on board next school year.

The main objective of this programme, intended for children, school teachers, parents and the local community, is to decrease and prevent violence among school children in Serbia. It teaches children and adults different techniques on how to manage conflict and promotes friendship and tolerance in schools. The project contributes to the improvement of conditions for secure life of young people. It developes and promotes tolerance.

In Bela Crkva, the role of local coordinators of Skola Plus, Jasmina Turturea, elementary-school teacher, dr Svemir Sovanec and Bosiljka Filipovic, also elementary-school teacher, is to participate in informing of young people and local community about the problem of violence in schools.

“We want to educate, support and motivate young people to take an active part in solving the problem of violence among young people,” the teachers involved in the Bela Crkva project say.

“Acquiring these kinds of skills and knowledge through the promotion of culture and friendship, improving the communication between young people, and organizing their free time and youth initiatives will motivate young people to find ways to control all kinds of violence,” they say.

“This is time too, School Plus shows readiness, capability and decisiveness to recognize and identify problems which surround young people,” the teachers from Bela Crkva noted in their statement, adding: “We follow the programs of Civil Initiations which are component of school subject called Civil Education, and in that way they replace school institutions in local community, offering the pupils help in acquiring skills and knowledge that will help them to actually, competently and responsibly take part in development of social community. Members of the School Plus do it transparently, frankly and cooperatively.”

Background
(source: Unicef -- http://www.unicef.org/serbia/support_4696.html ):

Violence among children Elementary school age has always been connected with different types of violence – from punching and pushing to threatening, gossiping or ridiculing, and complete exclusion of certain girls and boys from a group. In the world brimming with violence today, violence among school children has unfortunately become a trend. And although everybody knows that it is happening, this serious social problem often remains ignored in schools. Too often, when violence and bullying occurs, the majority simply watches in silence while some cheer it on and support it.

Both girls and boys are equally prone to violent behaviour. The difference is mostly in the type of violence executed: boys express physical violence more while girls are more into psychological type of violence, such as gossiping or excluding their classmates from the group.

Long-term bullying The first systematic researches of violence in school were done in 1970s and in 1983 Norway began a national campaign against violence in schools. It was the first time ever that a state began such an action in all schools led by the Ministry of Education. The reason, unfortunately, was a few cases of suicide among primary school children who had been exposed to long-term bullying in school.

Since then, bullying has become an issue of research in many European countries and also in the US, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Parallel to research, experts began to develop different programmes for the prevention of violence in schools, involving not only schools themselves, teachers and children but also parents, media and the entire community.

Research conducted in four pilot schools in Serbia showed that violence is widespread in schools. Almost one third of primary school children have been exposed at least once to some sort of violent behaviour, be it physical or verbal violence. At the same time, these same pupils admitted that they themselves had humiliated or physically attacked their peers. This clearly shows that it is impossible to make a clear division between those children who perpetrate violence and those who are victims of violence. Most belong to both groups, which brings about a complicated circle of mutual violence. [End]

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