In third grade, Simon (not her real name) changed schools. New kid, he suffered various mockeries. In fifth year, He couldn't take it anymore. “I felt sad, rejected. I was always the last to be chosen in a team, ”he says. He began to isolate himself abnormally and react violently. This is what prompted his mother and the school administration to question him in order to understand what was going on and give him tips to assert himself. The school also intervened with the bullies. In September, Simon's attackers entered high school. Her mother believed the bad days were behind them. Mistake. Simon began to intimidate others.
Simon does not have the image of a little bully. Yet he had indeed changed sides. “His grades dropped, he no longer participated in class. Every week he fought and said inappropriate words. He said it was never his fault, ”says his mother. At first she thought her son was at new victim of bullying. She had no idea he had become the abuser, until the school intervened.
There are cases like Simon's in all schools. In some extreme cases, this can go a long way. “When we look at the killings in schools, we often see that the shooters were victims themselves for a long time. It does not justify what they do, but it illustrates the dangerousness, ”says Égide Royer, psychologist and full professor in special education at Laval University. In other cases, young people can turn the violence against themselves and end their lives.
Not all perpetrators, however, were victims of violence at school or at home. But in all cases, the child is looking for something: power, valorization, attention, etc.
At the Quatre-Vents school, which Simon attends, several actions have been implemented to counter bullying thanks to a grant of 10,000$ from the Jasmin-Roy Foundation. The technician and the director also closely monitor young bullies. In Simon's case, changes were felt quickly. “We agreed with him that he needed two weeks to regain control. During this period, he no longer went to recess, but he did not feel penalized, he felt supported. Then, if he considered himself at risk because he felt angry, for example, he could choose not to go to recess and instead go and lend a hand to the specialized educators, ”explains the director of the school. school, Luce Bélanger.
Contrary to what is still done in some schools, there was no mediation between Simon and his victims. “Mediation can be useful in conflict resolution, but not in a case of intimidation,” says Royer. You wouldn't ask a battered wife to mediate with her abusive husband, that suggests that she has something to do with that. "
Such a change would not have been possible without the collaboration of Simon's parents. Her mother admits to having experienced anger and incomprehension, but she never fell into denial. And she accepted all the help offered.
Unfortunately, not all parents have the same openness, notes Ms. Bélanger. Today, Simon seems to be back on the right track. But next year, he enters high school and his mother admits to being a little worried. "At least if there is a problem one way or the other, we will have all the tools in hand to intervene."
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