Our older son was pretty miserable last year due to two kids that would continually taunt him during recess. He was continuously stressed out and suffered from very low self-esteem. We were considering changing schools, but first wanted to make sure that we helped him with his issues so that the next school wouldn’t have the same problem.
This year school has been great and our son is super happy and hasn’t complained about bullying at all. We asked him the other day why they weren’t bullying him anymore and his answer was “There’s a new Chinese kid in our class and the bullies bother him now.”
I think one of the reasons that Spain is far behind the curve on dealing with school bullying is twofold: first, it’s a society that has a very strong group instinct. My guess is that in order to develop such a strong group feeling, non-conformists need to be punished and humiliated. In North America, this would probably be considered psychological bullying. Here it’s called “formación del grupo”.
Secondly, the US has had some incredibly tragic events (such as the Columbine massacre), which caused many school to implement and fund anti-bullying policies, such as the Olweus program:
One of the largest of these initiatives is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which has been implemented in several thousand U.S. schools. It is a comprehensive program that includes forming an anti-bullying committee, training staff to intervene immediately if they observe bullying and meeting with students and parents when problems occur.
In fact, a recent study showed that the percentage of kids who reported being physically bullied in the US declined from 22% in 2003 to 15% in 2008.