According to the European Union and World Health Organization, bullying is a multifaceted form of mistreatment, mostly seen in schools. It is characterized by the repeated exposure of one person to physical and/or emotional aggression including teasing, name calling, mockery, threats, harassment, taunting, hazing, social exclusion or rumors.
The phenomenon of bullying has garnered the interest of numerous organizations working in the field of child protection as well as of official policy making bodies of the European Union (The EU Agenda for the Rights of the Child adopted in 2011 and reaffirmed in December 2013; The Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on child friendly justice 2010; The Commission’s 2012 Strategy for a Better Internet for Children and the 2013 Written Declaration of members of the European Parliament on establishing a European Day against Bullying and School Violence). Following these documents, the project Build future, stop bullying aims to produce a common anti-bullying policy recommendation which will be widely disseminated toward stakeholders at local, national and European level. Furthermore it develops specific classroom activities orientated to improve the cooperative work, to reinforce the educational values of tolerance, reciprocity, non-violence, appreciation of difference, equality and feelings of compassion with a gender and intercultural sensitivity generating a climate of social inclusion, critical thought and openness towards the others.
Project objetives of Build future, stop bullying are to learn to recognize bullying, violence and harassment scholar, get better the understanding and its impact in school community; to develop anti-bullying policies reccomandations, action plans and strategies for protection and empowerment of school communities’ actors in responding to violent and anti-social behaviours and to improve bullying competences of educational staff and teachers.
But first of all, “Build future” means build a school climate that is inclusive and open to difference, and a positive school culture, that is respectful and supportive, for everybody and especially for the most vulnerable students (Roma, ethnic minorities, disabled people, those living in poverty).
Another interesting aspect of Build future, stop bullying is the direct contribution of public institutions and local authorities in a project with “whole approach” involving students, teachers and families. A special focus will be on the understanding of the values of the “third” position that offers potential strategies to interrupt bullying as well as to prevent it.
The project improves the rights for young generations, promotes respect in the schools and fights violence and other prejudices, which destroying an European culture of freedom and equality. Last but not least, the project implements a ICT tools monitoring the climate in the schools in order to prevent bullying. It will be disseminated at the end of the project and kept open to more schools for two years beyond its end. This tools will be available for every school of European countries.
This project has three pins, on the one hand the creation of direct activities in the school by ‘other side of a path for the improvement of school policies and measures and protocols for the prevention of bullying in schools, and, definitely, the mutual learning and sharing practices among important partners in other countries (Workstream 1).
The aspects of greatest innovation of the project can be found in the approaches and contents of the three modules of training, which will be done in three public middle schools of five European countries, with a total of 1110 hours of activities (Workstream 2).
The project introduces a potentially strong technological instrument regarding to a new way to identify feeble signals about climate from the schools that may prevent the risk of discomfort, violence and bullying. This instrument “Anti-bullying radar” based on ICT, uses a user friendly interface based on colors. It will be extended in the future to a wide range of schools and students, more than the involved in the project (Workstream 3).
Preparation and previous activity
Build the future, stop bullying could be considered as an outcome of two projects. The former consists in the courses aimed at the prevention of bullying sponsored by Roma Capitale in the last years, which were developed in several schools and with heterogeneous approaches. The latter project is the one developed by “Educare alle differenze”, an Italian network of teachers, NGO, local delegates, community leaders, lawyers and feminist centers, including more than 600 people and 200 organizations organized by Scosse Association. The project was triggered as a reaction to a widespread homophobic and violent movement attacking schools, as a project introducing anti-homophobia programs in the classroom. These movements want to terrorize families about dangerous LGBT parents, using the rhetoric of the heterosexual family as a natural and healthy model. The creation of a heterogeneous network with LGBT activists and teachers together is the new interesting good practice built in Italy in the last years. The network was promoted by Scosse Association, project partner.