Bullying at school: “Everything leaves a mark on the heart” | NDR.de – News

Status: 24/07/2022 11:30

Already in the second grade, Katharina Schalinski was insulted, spat on and stoned by classmates until her nose broke. She wants to protect other children from such experiences.

by Astrid Wulf

No lessons, instead an anti-bullying workshop is on the schedule at Alt Duvenstedt primary school (Rendsburg-Eckernförde district). The children sit in a circle of chairs, coach Katharina Schalinski in the middle. The children hold paper hearts that they had previously cut out. In return, they recite sentences that have been painfully burned into their minds. “I’ve been told I’m stupid,” says one girl defiantly. A boy adds quietly: “I was told I can’t finish because I’m too bad”. After each sentence, the children fold their paper hearts. After the round, the children unfold them again. “What do you notice about your heart?” asks Katharina Schalinski. A girl replies, “Mine has a tear.” “Exactly. Everything that has been said leaves a mark on the heart.”

Helpless Tips: “Just Ignore Them”

Katharina Schalinski’s experiences also shaped her. At the workshop, she tells the children about it: “I was pushed off the bike on the way home, people said I was ugly. In the end I didn’t enjoy life at all.” Teachers in particular reacted very helplessly at the time, dismissing the attacks as “boy pranks” and advising her to simply ignore the attackers.

Coach Schalinski: Parents often have difficulty recognizing bullying

Anti-bullying trainer Katharina Schalinski recommends parents to ask sensitive questions if there are abnormalities.

Today, teachers are more sensitive to the subject of bullying, says Katharina Schalinski. Parents on the other hand are often still overwhelmed and may not even notice when their own child is being bullied. According to the PISA study published by the OECD in 2017, one in six students aged 15 is affected. These can be warning signs when children withdraw, don’t want to see friends or go to school anymore, or when grades drop.

Affected children remain silent out of shame

Katharina Schalinski recommends that parents ask questions when in doubt – sensitively but persistently. Whether the child likes to tell what is going on – for example, if something bad has been written in a chat group. Many children need time before they open up. “Many are super embarrassed to admit to their parents that they are being bullied.”

Bullying expert: Anyone can become a victim

Bullying is always a group phenomenon, says Philipp Behar-Kremer from the Berlin association “Cybermobbing Prevention”. In the beginning, there is always a group that wants to push someone out of the group, the social worker believes. Anything can be used against the victim: a speech disorder, an unusual hobby, a pair of glasses or an allegedly wrong brand of sneakers. As a rule, the whole class is gradually drawn into this dynamic, while the victim withdraws more and more, reacting in fear or even aggressively. “At some point this can only be stopped from the outside,” says Philipp Behar-Kremer.

SOUND: Anti-bullying workshop in primary school (4 min)

Breaking the cycle instead of punishing bullies

A particularly effective method is the “No Blame Approach”. It is not about punishing the bullies. Instead, the victim of bullying must be reintegrated into the community – for example in class. For that purpose, a small working group is formed in the class, in which the bullies are also involved. “They first ask what they are going to do in the group,” says Philipp Behar-Kremer. “Then we emphasize the children’s strengths and tell them, for example: You have something to say in class, you can inspire the others.” The group then works together to develop a support plan for the bullied student. Ideas are collected for how the outcast can be reintegrated into the class, for example by going to the cafeteria together. The effect: the bullying victim is no longer presented in front of the class.

What helps: education, civil courage, media skills, a strong class association

In her workshops, Katharina Schalinski will make it clear to the children that everyone has their place in the class community and that it is important to accept others with all their quirks and whims. She also talks about what can trigger bullying. The fact that some victims see no way out and try to take their own lives would shock and appall many people. However, it is also important to understand the young offenders. Many bullies tease others because they lack self-confidence, she says. Philipp Behar-Kremer sees parents as primarily responsible for living out values ​​such as the ability to handle conflicts, civil courage, media skills and empathy. It is then possibly your own child who raises his voice when a classmate is being bullied – or gets help if he or she is affected.

Help available here

Victims of bullying who would like to speak anonymously about their problems can call the counseling service free of charge day and night on 0800 – 111 01 11. In severe crises and suicidal thoughts, the psychiatric emergency ambulance can help, and help is also available on the emergency number 112.

More info

The cover of the book

“Just watch your thumb!” aims to encourage children not to put up with aggressive classmates. more

Sonja Borowski looks into the camera during an interview.  © NDR

Sonja Borowski was bullied because she was dyslexic. Now she wants to encourage and enlighten others. more

This topic in the program:

NDR 1 Wave North | News for Schleswig-Holstein | 22/07/2022 | 08:00

NDR logo

Leave a Comment