Teachers and children against violence


The Elementary School “Brace Ribar”, the largest elementary school in Sisak, is one of 280 schools that joined a MDG-F-supported project “Protecting children from violence” in Croatia. The school has joined the mentor based system of education of teachers and other school employees on the prevention, recognition and reaction to peer violence in late 2009. The school is currently implementing violence prevention and conflict resolution standards that are very visible, not only in classrooms and corridors of the school building, but also among the staff and students.

At the base of the project that includes joint teacher-student-parent co-operation stands a system of values, rules and consequences established by the group itself. Each class establishes rules of behavior between students that also define how certain behavior is to be addressed. Students undergo a process of elaborating potential conflict situations based on their own experience and set compensatory responses, thus participating fully in establishing their own social rules.

Ms Gabrijela Kramaric is in charge of the project’s coordination. Although the school’s incident of violence is below the Croatian average, in the previous year a few peer violence incidents at the school prompted her and her colleagues to join the project.

“After approaching the MDG-F sponsored project we were immediately assigned a mentor who has been working through a 7-step-program with the school's 46 teachers," she said. "The school's staff were delighted to learn how to tackle the issue, but there was also some resistance to the additional work to be done." 

“Teachers were somewhat reluctant to add more paperwork to their schedules, but by now they have learned to appreciate the improvements this program has brought to their every-day work and relations with the children and their parents," she concluded.

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