Мaria Januszewska-Warych

доктор философских наук (Польша), доктор педагогических наук (Россия). Высшая школа образования, Дворец культуры и науки, Варшава

В статье предпринята попытка исследовать проблему общественных изменений, влияющих на источники агрессии в школе, а также пути ее преодоления посредством создания программ, направленных на улучшение состояния безопасности, эффективное внедрение их в школьной практике. Цель подобных программ – поддержка учеников, родителей, учителей, а также образовательных учреждений благодаря формированию художественного восприятия и эстетическому воспитанию.
“Very interesting is the current phenomenon of inclusion of the "new" terminology that so far has not been commonly known and applied in the language of pedagogy and everyday education practice. Let us just name a few most important terms, such as conflict, crisis, collision, discord, aggression, defiance, violence, brutalization, cruelty.    Does it mean that we are now abandoning the pedagogy of harmony and concession?  And maybe this is just its valuable complementation? What can a teacher do in such an antimony?” [7].                                  
       The author of the above-mentioned statements, a renowned specialist in the field of pedagogical sciences, Stanisław Kawula, when revealing the creation and development of high-scale aggression cases in the Polish school, in addition to the questions formulated in the subtext, asks also another question, namely the question regarding the source of such a turnaround in the atmosphere of school society coexistence on many education levels as well as the genesis of such a rapid disruption of the educational order.      The signs of violence and aggression in school and towards it are a common occurrence, but their level and nature undergo constant transformation. It needs to be borne in mind, however, that those changes are not always noticed by the people engaged in the creation of a school atmosphere that is beneficial for coexistence and work.  After all, currently in Poland, the level of school aggression has been changed so dramatically that it has become the subject of not only ministerial analyses, but also of central government entities, such as, the national government, the Sejm and the Senate. Local authorities also focused their attention thereon.                                                                           
       A characteristic piece of evidence demonstrating the gravity of the problem of school aggression and violence is the literature on the subject that has appeared over the last couple of years.  Almost until the end of the last century, there were sporadic publications referring to this phenomenon, but in the middle of the first decade of 2000s  there were several monographs dealing with the issue of aggression. At the beginning of 2010s, there were many new titles dealing with the threats of aggression towards school and even delinquency.   The titles of the books are a clear confirmation of the signs of school pathology [3; 8; 11; 13; 22]. A part of those publications reflects the realities of changes as they were written based on multiple pieces of research on various aspects of the situation in the Polish school from the standpoint of security assessment and desired atmosphere of coexistence. As an effect, this research went significantly beyond a simple statistical analysis and encompassed broader reflection on external contexts of educational activities.                       
       The problems referred to above I would like to mention in three scopes. First of all, most significant and new aspects of aggression of the phenomenon of in the Polish school will be presented here, especially on the primary school level; next, I will try to identify their sources; I will present actions that should make school safer and friendlier according to the authors of violence counteract programs.  The statistical dimension of aggression threats is extremely high as it has remained on a similar level for many years already, gains new shapes that are more annoying for numerous groups of school children bullied by perpetrators who use many methods to insert pressure on them regardless of the attempts to mitigate this bad phenomenon.
From the comparative research from the years 1997 - 2003 - 2007 conducted by Krystyna Ostrowska in the environment of primary, grammar and secondary schools, it followed that all 41 acts of aggression, violence and demoralization named by her reached their peaks in the year 2003, and since then there has been a small decline. The percentage indicator for beating that caused bodily harm has gone down, but stealing small amounts of money and things of similar value has become more common (sums between PLN10 and PLN100); acts of destruction of teacher's property were more common as well as the cases of perpetrators bullying other schoolmates into buying cigarettes, alcohol with their own money [12]. Less drastic but also quite common were acts of offending others, spreading lies, etc. This research was conducted on a sample of 1,600 and 2,400 students in many different years so they are not representative enough to give a full picture of the Polish school.  
Agata Komendant-Brodowska in a report for the year 2014 regarding the aggression and violence made an attempt to generalize the result of a few research initiatives conducted by other people, but while concentrating on her own publications, she showed that the acts of relational, digital and sexual aggression occurred more often towards girls (44,21,14 respectively) than boys, but pupils were affected by verbal aggression (66), physical aggression (40), physical threat (10),  compulsion (18) and material aggression (23). The entire degree of victimization is difficult to determine, however, as there is a different frequency of  aggression  display towards different pupils [9]. Although, those who research aggression agree that its level is not rising, but Komendant-Brodowska found that it most refers to older adolescents, but "in case of the entire population of students, such an optimistic conclusion [9, 35]  cannot be made" and she showed that as far as the research for the years 2006 and 2011 is concerned, verbal aggression, lies and physical violence intensified. Almost two-thirds of Polish students tested in 2011 were offended, ridiculed or called a bad name at least once (63%).  Two-fifths of children (41%) became the victim of rejection or malicious gossiping, i.e. relationship violence.  Two-fifths (40%) of schoolboys and one-fourth of schoolgirls (26%) became the victim of physical aggression (were pushed aside or beaten) [9, 24]. The mechanism of escalation of aggressive behavior demonstrates itself nowadays in group aggression as well as in a similar type of defense. Agnieszka Nowakowska and Jadwiga Przewłocka showed that '"victims while defending themselves make defense alliances against their assailants.  When, however, the assailant becomes the victim, he/she is gathering a group of individuals who are supposed to support him/her” [10]. In effect, from a minor issue, a serious problem arises. The specificity of a new school situation demonstrates itself in the level of aggression and violence, but also in an entirely new type of aggression and violence by way of criminals or entire criminal groups entering the school. This refers to external crime, for instance drug dealers entering schools, as well as the crimes committed by the students themselves.   In 2011, they committed 28,019 crimes of various type, which means almost a 7% increase in comparison to the year before. When compared with the figure from 2004 of 17,275 crimes committed in schools, this means that there has been a rapid 62.2% growth over the last 7 years [21]. According to Grażyna Puchalska of the Police Main Headquarters, "the age of perpetrators is getting lower and lower, and crimes are filled with a constantly growing dose of aggression. Crimes, especially those committed with the use of violence, are committed by schoolgirls” [6]. Crimes conducted are also more common as "90% of all criminal acts of young people are directed at stealing someone else's property. This does not only refer to breaking into newsstands or cellars, but also brash and brutal  cases of extortion or mugging. It is more and more common that adolescents threat the health and life of their victims” [5].                      
A broader context of delinquency in school was presented in the Sejm when the junior minister in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, Adam Rapacki, said that "From the research conducted in the field, it follows that the most important motives determining the delinquency of adolescents is a desire to get money or other material benefits, impress others; children are encouraged to do certain things by their mates or adults, willing to be part of an informal group, they duplicate behavior seen at home or in mass media” [21, 15].                                                   
As is the case in practically entire Europe, in Poland we are dealing with the wave of growing aggression in basic structures of education From the international research it follows, however, that the Polish education can be found in lower parts of the threat, which means a higher aggression intensity. This refers mostly to bullying selected victims. For instance, among 38 researched states, Poland occupies place 24 in the number of bully victims as well as the participation of bullies in bullying others.   Active in this regard were also girls who took place 21 in the aggression category among the group of 38 tested countries [9, 31-34]. The growing number of cases of bullying is very often connected with some sort of legitimization on the part of other children and it is treated as something normal that one needs to adapt to, which, as a consequence, leads to the transformation of students subjected to aggression into bullies themselves. It seems that in students, complex consequences of aggression and violence are formed according to some authors of a textbook for teachers, such as bodily injuries, fear disorders, school phobia, depression, lowered self-esteem; such children attempt to commit suicide, which sometimes cause death; they suffer from psychosomatic disorders, display "venting" behavior, which take place as a result of being helpless and desperate; as a result such children are induced to use psychosomatic drugs, being on a sick note and absent, which leads to lower achievements in education results [2, 4].
            In the literature devoted to the issues of counteracting aggression and violence in school, the importance of atmosphere there is emphasized. There are many descriptions of school atmosphere, but I believe that in order to determine violence conditions (or alternatively if there are no such conditions) we could take advantage of a description given by Tadeusz Gołaszewski, who presented the atmosphere that facilitates one's identification with school and described an atmosphere that makes it more difficult.     "Self-identification with school is characterized by the fact of domination of positive reactions, lack of conflict situations when there is a consensus regarding the goals and motivation to fulfill school obligations or when awarding is more common that punishing, when all members of a community are treated fairly and when personal, direct and informal bonds dominate.  The opposite climate preventing the self-identification with school is characterized by the domination of negative emotions and conflict situations (constant nervous pressure), lack of conformity of goals and opposite motivation as to the fulfillment of school obligations, the occurrence of oppressive behavior or when punishing is more common than awarding and when there is more protection and indirect formalized bonds that are not based on positive emotions” [1, 48]. Gołaszewski presented his stance as early as in the 70s, when one's need to self-identify with school was not affected by temptations offered by various media or the Internet and many other attractions that will appear in the nearest future.   This obviously does not mean that the description referred to above lost its value, but still holds true when we try to think about limitations of the system of education.            
            In places where there is an appropriate atmosphere there is less aggression, but in those schools in which this atmosphere worsens, actions on the part of persecutors are more common. As far as the international research conducted in 23 states is concerned, it can be inferred that in Poland indicators showing problems in a teaching process were higher. Head teachers found that in the entire sample making the teaching process more difficult were such factors as being disruptive in class (60%), skipping classes (46%), being late to classes (39%), but in Poland those factors constituted 69%, 63% and 64% respectively.  In the entire sample of all the states higher were indicators relating to the category of using swear words, cheating and vandalism [16, 56].                                
Similar data was obtained in the international PISA research (OECD, 2013) conducted in 29 states in 2013 on a random sample of 15-year-old pupils that allowed for receiving data regarding the relations between teachers and students. Poland was also found to be the worst country in this category. The average positive feedback on the part of pupils from other countries was significantly higher in comparison with the one on the part of Polish students. The notion that "students have good relations with the majority of teachers" was confirmed in 82% of cases on average, whereas in Poland only 74% of respondents expressed an opinion stating that "the majority of teachers are interested in the physical and mental state of students". On average, 77% of respondents confirmed the statement that "I am treated fairly by the majority of teachers", whereas in Poland this confirmation rate was only 55%. The average result of the PISA test was 81%, whereas in Poland it was only 66% [15, 14]. The data referred to above give a clear but sad picture of the atmosphere of coexistence of a high percentage of pupils with their teachers.  One should not be surprised that the research on students' opinions on their teachers conducted by the Polish Center for the Research of Public Opinion produced results showing that the school atmosphere is far from a state that could be described as appropriate (students referred to in the research in question were the students from 150 primary and secondary Polish schools). According to those students, 47% of them were conflicted with their teacher at least once or more often; 48% of students expressed an opinion that "the teachers do not really know what is going on with students"; 43% expressed an opinion that their favor some students; 29% of students expressed an opinion that they oppress the students they do not like; 64% of secondary school pupils, 54% of grammar school students and 33% of primary school attendees claimed that "the reason for a conflict with the teacher was an appropriate grade/performance assessment' [4].  The research conducted by the Center for the Research of the Public Opinion includes an answer to a question which students are most susceptible to violence.   The respondents claimed that most susceptible to violence are students described as "toadies" (51%), "helpless" (49%) and 1-grade students.  In the same research, teachers poorly assessed students' postures as 18% of them believed that students behaved churishly; arrogant behavior in grammar school students saw 49% of teachers; this is statistically close to the views of grammar and high school students who believed that "in order to impress peers, one needs to be self-assured and arrogant towards teachers" [4]. If more than half of the students believe that an arrogant stance towards teachers is a proper one, then a teacher's reaction may strengthen or weaken such an attitude. In schools, there are numerous teachers, but a significant part of them is not able to find an appropriate attitude to the challenges that arrogance towards students or other problems created by them gives rise to.  Ostrowska found that "improper reactions of teachers contribute to the problem's growth rather than help solve it according to prophylaxis specialists.  [...] A common practice of a persecutor confronting the victim causing revenge and further intimidation of the victim, which obviously was not teacher's intention, was often referred to. If a problem is recklessly revealed and brought to the attention of an entire class, this can lead to the stigmatization of the victim, concentrating on the victim and improper support for him/her; also, there is not enough pedagogical and psychological knowledge allowing for effective work with the oppressor whose scope obviously exceeds regular punishment [14, 47]. From the aggression and violence research in the Polish primary and secondary school a conclusion can be made that in the education system there are significant gaps that, if not bridged, will hardly be able to prevent the trend of violence being on the rise.                                                                         
The situation became even more complicated when access to the Internet has become a universal thing as this sphere of youth's life remains outside the control of school and their parents. The phenomenon of electronic aggression is a temptation of many to use it as a medium for cyberbullying. This causes a misleading impression for persecutors that they remain anonymous, and, therefore, their actions can go unpunished. On the Internet, verbal tormenting, hatred, ridiculing, accusations, lies, insinuations, humiliation dominate, and individuals behaving this way often use swear words, which typically makes telling lies easier for them.    For such type of aggression, it is characteristic that "a group of young people engaged in bullying are so called bully-victims, i.e. such individuals who experience aggressive actions on the part of their peers and behave so towards others" [17, 153]. Victimization through electronic aggression performed by grammar school pupils is very difficult for the educational process to grasp and counteract.   Persecutors in their actions display aggression to a much broader group of individuals than their friends, schoolmates, and teachers.  As far as the research on grammar-school bullies is concerned, to the highest extent such behavior is directed towards individuals that they have met on the Internet, in school they attend, in a local community, close acquaintances, total strangers, random people or entire groups of people such as football fans of a football team, former boyfriends (girlfriends), celebrities, popular people, singers, sportsmen, actors, homeless people, people addicted to alcohol, teachers, etc [17, 217]. Persecutors develop in themselves a habit of attacking others without a any concrete reason.  The identification of reasons for the creation of aggression and violence in school structures should take into account external circumstances as well as those that function inside school.  One cannot be optimistic about the current level of aggression. A proportionate correlation between the school state, atmosphere therein and the victimization level in place can be easily seen.  The weakness of school generally contributes to the growth of aggression and violence.           
The literature devoted to the identification of aggression in school more and more often points to factors that contribute to the favorable creation of an atmosphere of aggression, including social changes, deprivation of those affected by unemployment, pathologies regarding work relations, disintegration of bonds in many areas, to put it simply, everything that is connected with the social system that does not create favorable conditions for feeling safe and secure and promotes the formation of aggressive behavior. Therefore, if an atmosphere in school is taken into account when assessing its level of safety, then we should realize that the atmosphere in the entire society of the country should be seen as being equally important. There is a direct connection between violence in school and violence at home; also, there is a direct link between organized crime and crime that can be seen in school that is often organized too. Janusz Czapiński, a psychologist of the University of Warsaw, claims that history plays an important role in the creation of such an atmosphere. He says that "the lack of trust on the part of Poles is legendary, which is also the case with Slovaks and Bulgarians". We are found near the very bottom of lists describing trust levels. "This is the case when members of some group feel safe and act in line with predictions.     Trust is built many years.  The history of Poland made us a nation of people who do not really trust others, and this causes one to be hostile, to suspect that others have bad intentions; the rule of reciprocity is often broken [...]. which causes the lack of trust", said the professor."An inability to listen to the others is omnipresent as is aggression" [20].  If it is really the case that the Polish history causes symptoms of aggression to appear and remain in Poland and in the Polish school, then constraining acts of aggression can be very difficult without a proper historical education. The axiological ladder that exists in the Polish school puts on top such things as individualism, initiative, entrepreneurship, competitiveness, reaching set goals no matter the cost; also, it does not support reaching compromises, being open to other people's views, neither does it support dialog inside school; this neoliberal stance causes acts of aggression to be more common so that other people in the society remain indifferent towards it.               
As I have already mentioned, violence and aggression are a phenomenon that can be found everywhere in Europe, but in Poland this is even more common. The issue of aggression is seen as a common threat for the entire European community, which is best proven by a conference of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, youth, school and extramural sports, higher school of educations directoriates held in Strasbourg on December 4, 2002..  The conference in its final declaration found that "the public opinion in general, and especially its activists in general have painfully realized the issue of school violence in recent years. In particular, this refers to extremely tragic cases that have received much media coverage (section 5). Different levels of the system of education and all activists in a local community should engage in preventive actions due to the fact that the underlying reasons for school violence can be indirectly traced back to external phenomena (section 13) [19, 15-16]. Recommendations found in the declaration are quite elaborate and addressed to member states of the European Council and signatories of the European Cultural Convention. They include directives for the majority of entities of the public life in those states.  It is worthy of note that a lot of attention has been brought to the fact that there is a correlation between relationships outside school and their effect on communities inside school.   "School violence," the declaration says, "is not a new phenomenon, but it seems that over the last couple of years its character has significantly changed due to a growing inability to isolate the school environment from any type of violence and difficulties characteristic for a society in general, and in particular for local communities where those schools are located"[19].
The scale of school aggression threats can be measured by the extent to which state organs engage in combating it.  On November 7, 2006, the Council of Ministers made a resolution regarding actions of the government  administration against violence in schools. On January 9, 2007, a draft Zero Tolerance government program aimed at improving school safety was presented. For the years 2008-2013, the Safe and Friendly School Program was adopted. In the school year of 2014/2015, the Prophylaxis of School Aggression and Violence educational policy was implemented. For the years 2014-2016, the Safe and Friendly School government program was adopted.  
In reference to some of the above-mentioned programs, there were critical remarks pointing to gaps in its ideological and educational sphere. For such a stance, representative is Marcin J. Sochocki's article stating that "the diagnosis presented in the Zero Tolerance program in many instances has many flaws".     [...] Statements such as "excessive liberalism", "crisis of values", "acceptance for pathologies" mean so many things [...] that they do not mean anything in particular. If presented this way, they could be seen as an example of poorly understood genesis of social problems. But the context in which those notions were used suggests that there are some clearly defined hierarchies of values, some natural law allowing for differentiating between pathologies and norms, etc. If certain assumptions of the program in question refer to some vision of life and order, then the authors of such a vision should formulate it clearly, i.e. formulate relevant hierarchies of values, and norms should be revealed to others. In other words, if  in the program in question there is some educational ideology, it needs to be indicated” [18, 5]. Sochocki, however, also sees good sides in the program being criticized, especially in reference to proposals to provide psychological and pedagogical help to families. But he attacks the lack of cohesion in the program that, on the one hand, makes an attempt at being uniform, but on the other it states that there is a necessity to guarantee professional prophylaxis.   Names of government programs are referenced above, and as of now, there is no possibility to present them in a detailed fashion. The most important issue is their creation as they can be modified and optimized when confronted with their practical application. The question whether those programs can be used to avert current trends to consolidate aggression and violence in school life cannot be answered yet as there are too many contemporary relations in the continent and in Poland that prevent hopes for the better future of the Polish system of education from being realized.
  1. B.Adrjan, (2011)  Kultura szkoły w poszukiwaniu nieuchwytnego, Kraków, p. 48.
  2. A.Borkowska, J. Szymańska, M.Witkowska, (2012) Przeciwdziałanie agresji i przemocy w szkole. Poradnik dla nauczycieli, ORE [Ośrodek Rozwoju Edukacji], Warszawa, p. 4.
  3. A.Czerkawski, (2009) Agresja jako przejaw patologii polskiej szkoły, [in:] Aktualne przejawy patologii i dewiacji społecznej: wybrane konteksty, edited byM. Walancik, Toruń.            
  4. Dziennik Łódzki of April 21, 2006.
  5. M. Głowala i A. Chmiel, Agresja wśród dzieci i młodzieży szkolnej; www.szkolnictwo.pl (accessed on November 6, 2015).
  6. Horror w szkołach, the Rzeczpospolita of January 23, 2012.
  7. S.Kawula, (1996) Agresja a dysonans społeczny. Między przemocą a syntonią w szkole, „Edukacja. Studia, Badania, Innowacje”, No. 1, p. 5.
  8. J.Kołodziejczyk, (2004) Agresja i przemoc w szkole. Konstruowanie programu przeciwdziałania agresji i przemocy w szkole, Kraków.
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  10. A. Nowakowska, J.Przewłocka, Szkoła oczami uczniów: relacje   z nauczycielami i kolegami oraz przemoc szkolna. Raport z badania jakościowego, Warszawa, March 2015, p.50.
  11. D.Olweus, (1998) Mobbing. Fala przemocy w szkole. Jak ją powstrzymać?, translated by D. Jastrun , Warszawa. 
  12. Cf.K. Ostrowska, (2007) Zachowania agresywne uczniów. Badania porównawcze 1997 - 2003 – 2007, Warszawa, p. 77.
  13. Przestępczość nieletnich: dziecko jako ofiara i sprawca przemocy, edited by B. Gulla  &  M.Wysocka-Pleczyk  (2009), Kraków.
  14. J.Przewłocka, (2015) Bezpieczeństwo uczniów i klimat społeczny w polskich szkołach. Raport z badania, Warszawa, p. 47.
  15. J.Przewłocka, (2015) Klimat szkoły i jego znaczenie dla funkcjonowania uczniów w szkole. Raport o stanie badań, IBE, Warszawa, p. 14.
  16. Psychospołeczne warunki pracy polskich nauczycieli. Pomiędzy wypaleniem zawodowym a zaangażowaniem, edited by: J. Pyżalski  & D. Merecz  (2010), Kraków, p. 56.
  17. J.Pyżalski, (2012) Agresja elektroniczna i cyberbullying jako nowe ryzykowne zachowania młodzieży, Kraków, p. 153.    
  18. M.J. Sochocki, (2007) Rządowy program przeciwdziałania przemocy – dwie narracje,  Remedium, No. 5, p. 5 (emphasis in the original).
  19. J. Szymańczak , Przemoc w szkole, Kancelaria Sejmu. Biuro Studiów i Ekspertyz, Informacja  No. 999, December of 2003,p.15-16.  
  20. Taki mamy klimat. Z Januszem Czapińskim rozmawia Bożena Aksamit, Duży Format, an appendix to the Gazeta Wyborcza of October 29, 2015. 
  21. J.Tracz-Dral, Agresja i przemoc w szkołach,Kancelaria Senatu. Biuro Analiz i Dokumentacji , April 2012, p.10.
  22. B. Urban, (2012) Agresja młodzieży i odrzucenie rówieśnicze, Warszawa.