This European project dealt with the question how prevention strategies between schools and cities can be developed in a more coherent way.
Verbal abuse, physical violence, rudeness and racketeering can currently be found in schools as much as anywhere else in cities.
Safety in schools is an issue which interests everyone involved in education: politicians, teachers, parents, associations etc., for all of whom school must especially represent respect for rules and authority, and promote learning life and social skills.
In the majority of European counties, schemes are launched with or by schools in reaction to violent situations and in an effort to develop effective prevention measures that encourage more positive behaviours and attitudes to children.
In order to promote cooperation in the fight against violence in schools, it appeared important for us to analyse straight away potential links between schemes set up by schools and those launched by local groups, and how they interact in order to prevent and fight against violence.
1) Preliminary Study: Files on the programme’s partner cities and countries, their schemes, how responsibilities are shared etc.
2) Work Seminars: Local partners (councils, head teachers, associations, anyone involved in school security etc.) from a whole host of European Union cities will meet up to take part in 3 themed seminars:
a) Collecting and sharing information: How are young people at risk identified?
How are incidents classified, how is information passed on?
b) Prevention and repression policies: How have rules/authority changed in the areas surrounding the schools? According to the schools, are the adults’ messages coherent?
c) Best practices and new tools
3) Distribution: Production of a bilingual print publication (2000 copies); additionally, practices and recommendations was published in the EFUS website.
Methodology of the partnership: Recommendations to strengthen links between cities and their schools
Project Partners: The following cities and departments participated in the project:
City of Bologna, Security Services (Italy)
City of Lübeck, Crime Prevention Council (Germany)
Commune of Saint Gilles, Brussels, Commune Mediation (Belgium)
City of Valencia, Department of Education (Spain)
Community of the North of Tenerife, Department of Employment and Local Development (Spain)
City of Helsinki, Department of Security (Finland)
City of Evry, Prevention and Security Services (France)
The two first meetings of this programme took place in February in Paris, and in Tenerife in June. They have enabled us to note that violence in schools is quite present in the seven cities represented and often increasing, despite the different extents.
On the other hand, the means of responding to it vary considerably from one city to the next, whether in terms of organisation and co-ordination of municipal services, the involvement of teachers or the participation of civil society.
The last seminar of this programme, bringing together partners from seven European cities (Helsinki, Lübeck, Brussels-St Gilles, Evry, Bologna, Valencia and the Mancomunidad del Norte of Tenerife), was held in Lübeck on 23-24 October.The objective of this meeting was to draw up joint recommendations on the role of the city in the prevention of school violence, especially affecting young people aged 11 to 14.
Two experts, Marie Raynal, Director of the City and Education Department at the CNDP, and Elaine O’Connor, form the Home Office of London, also participated in this meeting to present pilot experiments carried out in other European cities.
A guide of good practices, ‘EFUS, School and Cities, 2004′, (English-French) is available from EFUS upon request.