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Probably each of us remembers that colleague who was the target of jokes or even of "little aggression" of others. Many may have even been that person. Often ignored, these situations make 10 percent of schoolchildren in Arad to see school as an insecure environment, to feel strong stress and fear when they have to attend classes.

It's not a simple statistic! There are nearly 6,000 children and young people for whom the school is synonymous with fear! 6,000 destinies fighting aggression or daily humiliation!

1 out of 3 pupils in Arad was the victim of "bullying." The main targets of the phenomenon are students who are "different". We are not only talking about them belonging to a vulnerable group but rather about a physical aspect or behavior that is different from most: pupils wearing glasses, being overweight, dressing differently, pupils who are shyer, have an academic performance above or below average, do not get engaged in same activities as their peers, etc. Three-quarters of all identified situations have such factors as the cause.

Although the research has as its subject pupils from Arad, the phenomenon itself does not refer strictly to the school system, but to the society as a whole. Students do not learn in school not to accept those who, for one reason or another, do not fit into certain social norms, but that is an existing and supported attitude in the whole society. Being 'different' continues to be a big problem in Romania. And the fact that it can be noticed how with getting older the frequency of these behaviors decreases, it is a sign that parents and family, who shape children's behavior during their first years of life, have a determining role in perpetuating this situation.

Although not yet completed, the results of our study ar so far in line with the results of national studies, confirming the absence or ineffectiveness of measures to prevent and manage the phenomenon of bullying. The research involved more than 1100 pupils in the city and was implemented within the "#allDifferent" project, supported by the European Union through the Erasmus + program.

For nearly a year our volunteers have not only collected data about the phenomenon but have also tried to combat it through interactive activities aimed at educating young people to accept the diversity that surrounds them. The impact of these measures, although significant at each collective we worked with, is limited, as long as it is still socially accepted that those who are "different" than us can be judged, excluded, humiliated, and even aggressed ...