The suicides of several students in the space of a few months have reminded us of the seriousness of school harment, a long underestimated scourge, which now affects one in ten children in France. Tuesday evening is a 15-year-old teenager who was found dead at his home in Poissy (Yvelines), after reporting acts of harment last spring.
Faced with these tragedies that follow one another, the government wants an “implacable” response: a “plan” will be detailed in September to toughen the sanctions against the perpetrators of violence, and to strengthen the support for victims. A “harment representative” must be created in each establishment at the start of the school year. But so far, what procedure has been put in place for student victims?
Currently, each harment situation is handled on a case-by-case basis. The procedure always begins with a report. It can come from the victim herself, her parents or even the teaching staff.
At the same time, two free telephone platforms have been created to direct and report cases: 30 20 and 30 18 (cyberharment). When cases of harment are identified, the platforms will directly alert the establishments. Then, once the report has been made, the follow-up of the victims (like the perpetrators) must “be part of the long term”, insists the National Education, in a guide for teachers.
For parents and teachers, the first step is to collect the words of the student victim, reure him and give him confidence. The information then goes back to the head of the establishment. Then separate interviews with the pupil victim, the author of the harment (without mentioning the identity of the victim), witnesses of the facts, but also the parents of the pupils concerned are organised. In the best case, students and parents adhere to the method and the situation resolves itself.
The haring student now excluded
But not all cases of harment are resolved so easily. The student victim must be able to attend school in complete safety. Monitoring of the situation must then continue. If acts of harment continue (insults, mockery, cyberbullying, jostling, etc.), the headteacher may initiate disciplinary measures against the haring student, depending on the seriousness of the facts. These sanctions can range from a simple warning or reprimand to temporary or permanent exclusion procedure. The head of the establishment can still rely on the specialized staff of his academy (headmaster, harment representative).
Since a decree published last August, students representing a risk to the health or safety of other students may be transferred to another school. This exclusion, decided after a disciplinary council, is also possible for primary school students. But putting this measure into practice could encounter some difficulties, underlines Nora Fraissecreator of the ociation Marion with outstretched hand.
“How can a student guilty of harment be transferred if there is only one school in the municipality? What to do if the harer is a member of a sibling? Will families be helped? she wonders. Incidentally, Nora Fraisse insists on the need for “educational monitoring of the student changing school”, in view of the “risk of stigmatization”.
In another scenario, the student victim can also change establishment, a measure which has so far been favored. However, agreement from the academy inspector is required to initiate such a procedure. The approach must also be well understood by the pupil and prepared with the establishment which welcomes him so as not to be experienced as a “double penalty” by the teenager. National Education psychologists may be involved in this procedure.