The students of this Kaunas pro-gymnasium attend classes in the premises of another school located in Laisvės avenue.
Ieva, the mother of junior high school student Jokūbs (names changed, but known to the editors. – Author.) turned to “Laikinų sostina” extremely worried – her son was recently beaten by as many as eight boys in Laisvės Alley, but the school is said to be almost unresponsive and not considering making serious changes.
The director of the high school, for her part, claims that the school did everything it could after the incident.
A gift from a teacher?
No one could have guessed how the conflict that started at the school on January 18 would end.
During a break outside, Jakub was attacked by other children – they threw ice cubes at him.
After returning to the classroom, Jakūbs told the technology teacher about the incident.
“The teacher says: “You’re a chicken if you can’t defend yourself.” Then he turns to the children who attacked him and says: “Teach that Jacob after school how to be.” So the teacher who encouraged the children to violence is also involved in this whole story. because he didn’t like my child’s behavior during class.
There are child witnesses who confirmed that this was indeed what was said during the lesson,” said Ieva, the victim’s mother.
Eight classmates were already waiting to encourage Jakūb, who was walking home after school. They beat the boy badly.
“My child was attacked by a gang of eight children. After everything, while running away, they also said: “This is from the technology teacher, thank him,” said Ieva.
After returning home, the mother took her beaten son straight to the Emergency Department. Fixed bruise in multiple places, blood found in urine. Outpatient treatment for the student.
He also reminded of the boy’s sins
The mother hastened to inform the management of the high school about the incident. She convened the Child Welfare Commission, to which she invited both the mother of the victim and the parents of the boys.
“Parents suggested dividing the children into different classes. The school management acknowledged that there was a problem, but did not respond to the parents’ suggestions. They said that they can only provide psychological help, but it is limited because there is only one psychologist working in the school, as well as social help, which is simply a lesson in life skills taught according to the program,” said Ieva.
The school gave advice to parents to communicate more with their children, and in addition, finally reminded the mother of the victim about the pranks of Jakub himself in the past.
“Instead of solving the problem, they remembered my child’s past problems. I remembered what my child had done wrong. This is the management’s position,” said the Kaunian woman.
The technology teacher who was involved in the incident, according to the children, was also called to the meeting. Only he denied everything, he said he heard it for the first time.
“He pretended not to know anything. At one point, he said that he had heard that it was planned to repay Jakub after the lessons, but after a few minutes he denied those words. The deputy of the high school believed in him and fully supported him,” the interviewee testified.
According to Ieva, the behavior of the classmates who beat her son had been discussed many times before at school.
“Management probably thinks they have convened a commission and that’s the end of it,” she added.
Bullying in the classroom is an old problem
As the mother of the victim child explained, friction had been going on in the classroom for several years.
“We are talking about the inefficiency of the school in relation to minors. It is a problematic class where bullying and insults take place.
The school management knows this is the case, but makes very minimal efforts to control the situation. This is a very long-standing matter, the consequences of which on January 18 were painful,” said the mother.
Ieva has already reported the incident to the police.
“I’m still waiting for a call from the investigator, but I’ve already been informed that the authorities cannot take any more serious action regarding the incident because minors are involved.
We asked the school to show the video camera recordings, but they explained to us that they will show them only if the police officers demand them,” she said.
Officials are investigating the circumstances
Odeta Vaitkevičienė, head of the Kaunas Police Communications Sub-Department, confirmed that the police received the report at 1 p.m. 53 min.
“A report was received that minors beat a minor born in 2012 in Kaunas, on Laisvės avenue.
On the same day at 7 p.m. 56 min. it was reported that another minor born in 2012, who participated in the fight today, arrived at the treatment facility. Currently, the Kaunas police are clarifying the circumstances of the incident,” said O. Vaitkevičienė.
She added that in general, reports of violence among minors are not common.
“In the county schools, our officers carry out various preventive measures, designed not only to prevent possible criminal acts or violations of the law, but also to draw attention to certain topics, including bullying, to educate schoolchildren,” said O. Vaitkevičienė.
Got mad about the snow house
The director of the high school, Loreta Levanauskienė, emphasized: the school always pays great attention to the prevention of bullying and reacts immediately to any manifestations, but in this case, neither the head of the class nor the deputy had any information.
“As soon as the information about the conflict that took place after school reached the administration of the high school, the members of the Child Welfare Commission and the parents of the children who participated in the incident were immediately summoned. The meeting took place on January 19”, L. Levanauskienė explained.
According to the director, the conflict arose because Jakub could tear down the snow house that his classmates had been building all week.
“At the meeting, the students’ parents admitted that the behavior of all the children was inappropriate in one way or another,” said the director.
The interlocutor added that the school took steps to resolve this situation. Even before the meeting, a social pedagogue and a psychologist communicated with the students, and during the meeting with the parents and child welfare specialists, common agreements were adopted.
“Specialists suggested that all students who participated in the incident be given disciplinary penalties – warnings for gross violations of student behavior rules. Also, strengthen attention to the prevention of inappropriate behavior and compliance with the rules of internal work procedures. These sessions will be conducted by a social pedagogue, a class leader and a psychologist,” said L. Levanauskienė.
The director added: there have been verbal conflicts before due to the inappropriate behavior of the affected child with classmates.
“The parents of the affected child and the school leaders heard about it from other parents. The parents who attended the meeting expressed their desire that if Jacob’s behavior does not improve in the future, they would move him to another class,” said the interviewer.
The teacher managed to get away
L. Levanauskienė admitted that she had heard the victim’s mother’s complaints about the technology teacher – that he called her son a chicken and urged others to teach him.
“The mentioned teacher gave an explanation to the head of the school, participated in the meeting of the Child Welfare Commission and answered all the questions asked by the parents, both regarding the students’ behavior during the lessons, the conflict situation, and the progress of the children.
The parents of the victim student accused the technology teacher of possibly escalating the situation.
The teacher denied these accusations, and the parents of the classmates who participated in the meeting, after talking to their children about the incident, did not provide information about the inappropriate behavior of the teacher,” said the director.
The pro-gymnasium is currently cooperating with the Kaunas City Center police community officer, who actively contributes to the reduction of misbehavior and bullying by organizing lectures and activities for children with student support specialists.
in pro-gymnasium in 2023 in May and December, a survey was conducted for children “Students’ safety and well-being” and for their parents “Parents’ opinion about students’ well-being and safety”.
“According to the results of anonymous questionnaires, it was found that 95 percent students feel safe in secondary school and do not face bullying.
The same indicators were obtained in the parents’ survey.
Although the conducted survey showed that the majority of children feel safe and do not face bullying at school, work is being done systematically on this issue – the pro-gymnasium has planned and implements preventive measures: it organizes lectures, meetings with specialists, police officers, etc., emphasized L. Levanauskienė.
What is the responsibility of the secondary school?
Jurgita Smiltė Jasiulionė
“Children’s line” psychologist
“If a child experiences behavior that hurts, offends, then it is important for him to seek help and talk to an adult.
It can be hard for parents to know that a child is being bullied if they don’t tell you about it themselves, but there are some signs that parents should be on the lookout for. Some signs are related to the child’s emotions – if the parents notice that the child used to go to school willingly, but now he is worried, then something is happening at school that causes those feelings. Other signs are the unexpected disappearance of things, the appearance of scratches, which can also indicate that the child is being abused by peers.
The school’s position should be very clear. Each school is required to have its own internal bullying prevention and intervention procedure, and school staff must respond to humiliating behavior. If a child seeks help, they must ensure their safety. Any threat to tackle, discipline or otherwise hurt a child should be taken very seriously, even if the children appear to be just playing.
Without the response of adults, children have no motivation to change their behavior. It is very important that adults acknowledge the problem rather than denying it. If there is a saying that bullying doesn’t happen, then kids get a green light to do whatever they want because it’s considered normal behavior.
As for the situation with the students of this Kaunas pro-gymnasium, it can be said that the school is not responsible for the specific incident, because it was not during class time and not on the school’s territory, but the school is responsible for what will happen to those children at school, how they will communicate, whether they will feel safe, whether they will be able to continue participating in the educational process together. This is the school’s responsibility.”