Parliament debates combating violence in schools

The Parliament Palace in Bucharest on Monday played host to a debate on combating violence in schools, organised by MP in the Chamber of Deputies Alina Gorghiu of the National Liberal Party (PNL).

The main conclusion of the event was that modifications are needed in the educational legislation and school curriculua. Gorghiu said that steps forward are required in the area of legislation that combats violence against children as well as in educational legislation by first supplementing the Education Law at the same time with establishing a working group that will comprise NGOs campaigning for children’s rights and the combat of teachers and parents’ violence against children.

‘Violence in schools is becoming increasingly more frequent and that includes both children against children and teachers against children violence. Unfortunately, violence in schools is but one face of daily violence. We have to understand the causes behind some children choosing to be violent in school in their behaviour to other schoolmates or teachers. This group could come up with suggestions to supplement the Education Law.

I believe that would be good because NGOs have more expertise than the Education Ministry in relation to violence against children and children’s violent behaviour,’ said Gorghiu, adding that suggestions should also be made to improve the training curriculum of teachers as far as their psychological and pedagogical training is concerned.

Speakers also mentioned the development of after-school educational activities and solving what they called ‘educational malpractice,’ as there are some teachers perpetrating violence against school children and parents who do not send their children to school, without facing any penalty. Representative of the Child Help-line Association Catalina Florea said calls to the toll-free 116111 number surged 75 percent in 2009 from 2008.

She said that following the complaints of small children, the association has contacted the relevant organisations, and the association is certified to provide psychological counseling and legal advice. Representative of Save the Children Romania organisation, psychologist Diana Stanculescu, said her organisation started off a series of programmes in 2002 that sounded the alarm over violence against children through its slogan ‘Violence Begets Violence.’

‘There is a law that bans corporal punishment of children. Unfortunately, this law has not generated immediate changes in common practice. Child beating is still a usual occurrence in the education of many Romanian children. There are alarming figures indicating that more than 75 percent of Romanian parents serenely confess to beating their children now and then,’ said Stanculescu. She also said that Save the Children Romania has drawn up a programme for educating parents and teachers in Bucharest and other Romanian counties.

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