*Education Minister: 18,793 cases of violence in schools reported in 2014-2015 school year
In the 2014-2015 school year, 18,793 cases of violence in Romania’s schools in all its forms were reported, down from the previous school year, Romania’s Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu told the launching ceremony of the campaign “You are a schoolyard hero when you stop verbal violence!” held on Friday at the UNICEF headquarters in Bucharest
Out of the total reported cases, 3,397 were instances of verbal violence.
“Taking into account the 19,000 schools in Romania, we can say that, unfortunately, we have an average of one case per school; 41 percent of them were student-on-student verbal violence cases. It is a good thing that a significant decrease in violence in schools was recorded in the first part of the year,” said Cimpeanu, according to Agerpres.
He added that setting up video surveillance cameras is one of the measures that could lead to a reduction in violent actions in schools.
“Video surveillance of the activities in each school is being extended and it will soon complete in all schools. More than 80 percent of Romanian schools have surveillance cameras. And yet, the school managers have to be aware that they have to follow up the recordings and the teaching staff should be aware of the importance of this phenomenon,” said Cimpeanu.
The Education Ministry, he said, has very limited means of intervention when teachers are violent with students.
“The Education Ministry has not rapid reaction means in cases that are totally regrettable. Other types of intervention should exist to counter violence. The penalties applied should be more drastic in the case of teachers resorting to violence against students, but there should be provisions in place against this new type of student-on-teacher aggression, which has become visible in Romanian schools,” said Cimpeanu.
He suggested the consolidation of the teaching staff status and its authority.
“There are European educational systems, and I would mention to the point the Spanish one, where teaching staff is defined as public authority. I feel there is need for clearer and firmer regulations,” the minister added.
UNICEF representative for Romania Sandie Blanchet mentioned a global report drawn up by UNICEF on violence against children that reveals 41 percent of children are victims of intimidation in schools.
“Our campaign is designed to attract attention to verbal aggression against children and to urge the people witnessing verbal aggression to take attitude. We know that reacting does not come easy when children witness such situations, but they do have a possibility to really change the life of their friends, a reason why in our campaign they are superheroes,” said Blanchet.
The Education Ministry and UNICEF on Friday released a campaign against violence in schools with a message “You are a schoolyard hero when you stop verbal violence!” aimed at increasing national and local information and awareness level of the forms and consequences of verbal aggression in schools.