Palma is currently hosting the first School-aged Children convention. Topping yesterday's opening day agenda was a discussion of school violence.
Delegates were informed that 14 percent of school children claim to have been victims of violence, two points above the European average.
Child psychologist Angela Serrano explained that school violence does not always refer to bullying. Only three percent of school kids claim to have been bullied, but she said that, while the percentage may appear low, the number of children being bullied is extremely worrying. Erring on the side of caution she also claimed that one reason for Spain apparently having such a high level of school violence is because a greater number of cases are being reported. Although one other major problem is that the culprits, the bullies, are failing to accept the blame and recognise their violent tendencies. It appears that 13 and 14-year-old boys are the most violent while the majority of victims are girls in the same age group. Angela Serrano said that one solution would be to start targeting school children as young as ten with the intervention and prevention programmes currently being offered in schools. However, she stressed that not all the responsibility should be directed at schools and the education system. Granted, schools have an important role to play but so too does society as a whole, she said.
The psychologist also said that, in the most extreme cases, new areas of action should be made available to schools and victims such as the legal system. We have to instill into children that violence is totally unacceptable and she added that, if necessary, tough measures are going to have to be introduced to get this message through.
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