Under the aegis of the Ombudsman for Children, the website for the ‘Bully-free school’ programme has now been completed. It offers practical advice on preventing bullying and for the resolution of cases of bullying.
According to Kristi Paron, an adviser to the Chancellor of Justice, preventing bullying is something to which everyone must contribute. “Bullying’s a real problem in Estonian schools and it’s something we should be dealing with systematically – bearing in mind that proper prevention requires us all to play a part,” she said. “Schools and parents have to work together, and the role that society at large plays is just as important in terms of moulding people’s attitudes.” She added that bullying only occurs when bystanders – children and adults alike – either directly or indirectly approve of it and fail to react to it.
The website outlines the nature of bullying and the steps that can be taken against it. Advice is also provided on creating more supportive school environments. Tips are given separately for students, teachers, school directors, parents and specialists. Both those being bullied and those doing the bullying are counselled. Teachers are also given pointers on on preventing bullying, fostering a positive atmosphere in the classroom and resolving bullying incidents. Practical advice is directed at parents as well – for example, helping them recognise the signs that their child is being bullied or is bullying others and recommending what to do in such situations.
The ‘Bully-free school’ website also offers links to other anti-bullying programmes and pages and has a list of useful reading material. The website is available in Estonian and Russian and has been adapted for smartphones.