School and family: a fundamental partnership in the fight against bullying
By Diego Toloy and Catarina Andrade, Counselors at the Pan American School of Bahia
Bullying is a social phenomenon widely discussed in educational institutions. However, its definition is not always correct. The term is applied to any disagreement, something that education professionals must be careful with. Bullying is a severe issue with relevant consequences for those involved (both those who practice it and those who suffer). The school is responsible for ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all students to develop to their full potential. Therefore, they must monitor their interactions and identify the relationships that negatively impact their well-being.
During the first week of May, the Pan American School of Bahia (PASB), the only international school in Salvador, promoted the first edition of Bullying Awareness Week, an event focused on guidance and discussion about bullying. The event included academic activities for students of all grades and lectures for the faculty, support staff, parents, and students. The whole school community could engage and obtain qualified information on the subject, seeking to prevent, identify, and correctly intervene in situations in which bullying occurs.
Experiencing bullying, whether as a victim, spectator, or aggressor, can have lasting effects on self-esteem, contribute to the emergence of anxiety, depression, stress, and even symptoms of physical illness, and promote disengagement from school learning. We are seeing the increasing repercussions of bullying in children’s lives and its negative short- and long-term impacts. The school, as a space for growth in all aspects, must take responsibility and engage in the fight against this practice. Social and emotional well-being is fundamental to a child’s development and just as important as academic learning.
It is the school’s role to inform and educate students, taking as a reference its institutional values, in addition to the premises contained in the National Common Curricular Base (BNCC), the Statute of the Child and Adolescent (ECA), and other legislation and agencies responsible for protecting and ensuring the rights of children and teenagers. PASB, a school with over 60 years of tradition in education, provides a healthy, safe, and welcoming learning environment for all its students. It establishes well-defined protocols and communication channels so that identified circumstances can be reported, and it constantly trains its guidance team, teachers, and employees so that they can identify situations of risk and vulnerability.