On-line version ISSN 0023-270X
Worldwide there is a problem with violent incidents occurring amongst learners in schools. Bullying is one mode of violence that often occurs at school level. Bullying means repeatedly attacking a person psychologically, physically and/or emotionally in order to inflict harm. Bullying behaviour cannot be ignored, because the victims often report physical and mental health problems caused by the abuse they suffered. The future of the bully is also at stake, because such a person can turn into an abuser in his or her adult years. This research focused on the challenges for teachers in the school system to handle bullying behaviour. The specific aims of the study were to research the role of school policies and ethos, as well as the teacher's role, in dealing with bullying. The researchers investigated the problem by using social identity theory as theoretical framework and Christianity as worldview. The researchers mainly used a qualitative research design. Data for this study were collected by means of a literature study and questionnaires with closed questions as well as open-ended questions about teachers' experiences regarding bullying. The main emphasis was on the feedback on the open-ended questions. It became clear from the research that schools should adopt an anti-bullying policy. Teachers should give more attention to classroom rules and they should become skilled in dealing with bullying. Recommendations were made concerning the role of teachers as well as the place of school ethos and policies when the above-mentioned behavioural problem needs to be managed.