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Student Council:Anti-bullying working groups are no solution to school violence, but teacher and counsellor training

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The National Student Council considers that the solution to school violence is not the creation of anti-bullying working groups, as the Education Ministry plans, but the training of teachers and school counsellors in this regard.

"The National Student Council deeply disapproves of the Education Ministry's attitude about this increasingly serious problem. We consider that the solution to this phenomenon is not setting up an anti-bullying working group in every educational institution (as per Article 71, paragraph (2), point e) of the Framework Regulation on the Organisation and Functioning of Pre-university Educational Units, each such institution already has a permanent anti-violence commission in place), but the training of teachers to detect cases of school violence in their early form, and training school counsellors for them to be capable of an efficient case management regarding the rehabilitation of the aggressor and the victim, for not extremely serious cases," the National Student Council said in a release today.

The Council calls on the Education Ministry to publicly assume the students' mental health and well-being in school as a priority, so as to ensure in each Romanian educational institution a favorable environment for learning and the harmonious development of the students.

"Unfortunately, the Education Ministry's solution in the face of the problem of school violence, of burying the educational units in a host of new committees, commissions and working groups, cannot have any chance of success. There is already a committee responsible for the combat of violence in each school, but most of the time the members do not take their duties seriously, either because they do not have the necessary skills or because they do not consider school violence to be a serious phenomenon that needs to be addressed, in the country where 20 percent of parents consider corporal punishment to be an education method. It is the duty of the Education Ministry to take responsibility for, and the duty of each principal to actually implement policies to increase safety in school and further the well-being of each student, by creating safe spaces for education," said president of the National Student Council Rares Voicu.

Most teachers are not prepared from a psycho-pedagogical point of view to detect school violence in its early forms, before it becomes an acute phenomenon at class/school level, the National Student Council underscores.

A recent survey by World Vision Romania shows that 71 percent of students have witnessed or were victims of violence either on the way to school, during breaks or even during classes. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, Romania is ranked third in terms of bullying, as per a study conducted in 42 states, the National Student Council adds.

Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu declared on Saturday that anti-bullying action groups will be set up in all schools until September 13, at the beginning of the new school year.

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