When everything came to a halt in March and schools closed, the children who suffered bullying could “enjoy” a certain respite by paralyzing all face-to-face activity in schools, which also meant that the bullying. But the respite was short-lived.
During confinement, this harassment was transferred in many cases to social networks, increasing the cyberbullying figures. And now that the boys and girls have returned to school, many of them have to deal with the new forms of bullying that have resulted from the pandemic. Harassment that does nothing more than prove that bullying is not a school problem or a children’s problem: it is a social problem.
Therefore, at this time a behavior guide is necessary to help families and teachers to prevent the pandemic from becoming a new excuse for pointing out, social isolation and the new threats that arise in the school environment as a result of the current situation.
Can the COVID-19 become a social alibi for bullying?
Carmen Cabestany, Professor and president of NACE (No To School Harassment), points out that “if there is a boy or girl who has been infected or someone in their family has been, it is easy for them to point it out, and we are already beginning to see situations that alert us” .
“We know of cases of, for example, a girl with a relative who has suffered COVID and they call her” little crown “: that is Verbal harassment“, Carmen Cabestany tells us. However, the teacher wanted to point out that” we still cannot say that it is bullying because one of the conditions to be able to talk about bullying is repetition, and if it has been three weeks since we started the classes, we see things, but we still cannot properly speak of bullying. ”
Carmen Cabestany lists a series of tips, aimed at both families and teachers, so that we can prevent these situations from leading to bullying:
1. “As far as possible, let’s keep normal. Because children need it. ”
2. Carmen added that children already hear a lot in the media, on the street, talking about the virus, “so let’s keep them away from this media bombardment to prevent them from panicking. ”
3. Let us explain that the contagion rate among boys and girls is very low.
4. Let us not show fear or discriminate against someone because they have had the virus. We are their greatest example: “They are like sponges, everything they hear, even if it seems that they are not pending, they pick it up. We educate by example and not by word, “Carmen explained.
5. Reinforce that they do not tease or ridicule anyone for having apparent symptoms.
6. Insist that do not point out or marginalize someone if you have had (or if someone in your family has had) the disease.
7. Teach your children to empathize with others and to treat them the same way they would like to be treated.
In addition, Carmen Cabestany advises teachers in order to manage this new situation “to use strategies that have to do with the emotional, for example, playing relaxing music in the classroom, making relaxations and breaths at the beginning of the class”.
“Teachers have to bring positivity and a sense of humorAs far as possible, we are going to organize an excursion to nature, if possible, and if not, let’s propose to them that they organize it for the future, “added the teacher.
In short, as Carmen Cabestany explains, “let’s work on group cohesion, let’s promote emotional education”.
Carmen Cabestany spoke about this issue at the 1st award ceremony “Say Everything Against Bullying”, an initiative carried out by Managing children and Totto. Here you can see her complete intervention: