Open Journal of Social Sciences
Vol.06 No.04(2018), Article ID:83866,16 pages

The School Violence in the Coexistence Programs of the Spanish Educational System

Gladys Merma-Molina, María Alejandra Ávalos Ramos, María Ángeles Martínez Ruiz

Department of General Didactics and Specific Didactics, University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain

Copyright © 2018 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY 4.0).

Received: February 28, 2018; Accepted: April 17, 2018; Published: April 20, 2018


One of the great problems of Spanish education is the increase in conflict and violence inside and outside schools. The Spanish educational administration, in order to reduce and eradicate these problems, has implemented coexistence programs in schools, which have not had the expected results. The objective of this study is to analyze and evaluate the integration of school violence in the coexistence programs that are being implemented in Secondary Education schools in Spain. For this, a sample of N = 806 Spanish schools has been taken. The evaluation matrix of coexistence programs was used, validated through expert judgment; the valuations of the selected items have been operationalized with the Osterlind Method (1989). The reliability of the instrument obtained an Alpha of Cronbach of 0.876 of consistency; the statistical analyzes of the data are carried out with the SPSS 23.0 program. For the evaluation of the coexistence programs, the participatory methodology was used (De Miguel, 2009), where 5 experts and 30 student-researchers intervened. The findings show that the coexistence programs, mostly, do not incorporate the prevention or the intervention of the different types of school violence, being only the objectives and the activities related to the behaviors related to the insults, threats, aggressions and vandalism that have presence with acceptable quality criteria, while the objectives and activities linked to the prevention and intervention of bullying, cyberbullying, gender violence, assaults on teachers and staff, child abuse and situations of school violence, which occur outside the school, have very little presence and poor quality criteria.


School Violence, Education for Peace, Educational Project of the School, Prevention, Coexistence Program

1. Introduction

Violence has become a crucial problem in European countries. Some studies carried out in Spain [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] also show an increase in violence among young people and have verified the presence of variables that affect coexistence in schools, both in Primary Education and in Secondary Education. Likewise, new problems of school violence have been identified, such as cyberbullying, gender violence, aggression towards teachers, alcohol consumption, addictions to videogames and mobile phones, and sexting and grooming [6] . The growing number of news stories reflects this dangerous reality: in Madrid, La Cadena Ser, on November 14, 2016, interviews the parents of a girl who suffered bullying for seven years. The story of Carmen (not her real name) begins when she was in elementary school. During all this time, he is a victim of physical and verbal aggressions. When parents, impotent that nothing was done at the school, ask for help from the police, the school activates a protocol that concludes that there is no bullying. Carmen is currently suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. On January 10, 2017, a thirteen-year-old girl, in the hamlet of Aljucer (Murcia), hanged herself in her room; it is known that her classmates insulted her because of her physical appearance. On January 30, 2017, a 17-year-old student, with a brilliant academic record, caused panic in an Institute in Villena (Alicante), wounding five classmates; Subsequent investigations conclude that he was a victim of bullying. What seems evident, in the cases mentioned, is that the protocols in the schools were either not activated or, if implemented, they were not effective.

A large part of the studies carried out in recent years in Spain have to do with violence between peers or peers that occurs in school, with special mention being made of bullying. This is characterized because it includes behaviors of various kinds such as ridicule, threats, intimidation, physical aggression, exclusion, carried out in a systematic way and that suppose abuse of power, since it is provoked by one or several students against a victim who is defenseless, while that other people are passive observers of the facts and do not intervene to prevent such situations [7] .

The study conducted by the Ombudsman [8] , with a representative sample of students and teachers of Secondary Education taken from all the autonomous communities of Spain concludes that 31.6% of students say they speak ill of him or her (violence indirect verbal), 27.1% of students declare that they are victims of verbal insults (direct verbal violence), 26.7% say they are offensive, 16% say they hide things, 10.5%, who ignore him (indirect social exclusion), 8.6% who do not allow him to participate (direct social exclusion), 6.4% claim that “they threaten to scare him”, 6.3% steal things from him, 3.9% affirm that they are beaten (direct physical violence), 3.5% that break things (indirect physical violence), the 0.9% that sexually harass them, the 0.6% that force them with threats and 0.5% that threaten you with weapons. In sum, according to this report, the type of abuse with greater presence is the verbal insult, followed by social exclusion and the aggressions carried out through the properties (hide them). The incidence of robbery, of threats, followed by direct physical aggressions (hitting) and destruction of material, and a small percentage of schoolchildren―less than 1%―allude to blackmail, harassment sexual and the threat with weapons. However, although the last Report of the Ombudsman [8] states “that maltreatment between equals has decreased in recent years”, the teachers perceive a notable increase especially in violent behaviors that generate a series of personal problems, psychological, academic and social in the students. School violence has a series of consequences on victims such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, rejection of the school, etc., but also in those who show violent behavior [9] .

Martín, Pulido and Vera [10] analyze different situations of school violence and exclusion at different educational levels. Based on a sample of 1635 students whose ages were between 14 and 18 years, they conclude that the most frequent situations of violence are associated with passive exclusion (“ignore me”), followed by verbal violence (“they insult me, “They speak ill of me”, “they call me by nicknames that ridicule me”) and that exerted on property (“they hide things”). A considerable percentage declared suffering more serious situations such as intimidation with phrases or insults of a sexual nature, physical attacks, and threats, even with weapons. The aforementioned authors observe that the victims end up considering that the cause of what happens is in them, while the aggressors seek justifications for the type of violence they exercise, giving it the appearance of legitimacy. All these problems have become one of the main challenges of the international and Spanish educational system [11] .

Based on the situation and the foregoing background, the general objective of this study is to identify whether the coexistence programs designed and implemented in Spain, according to current regulations, incorporate the prevention and intervention of different types of school violence and know which are the quality criteria of such integration. For a more precise study, the following specific objectives are proposed:

• Analyze whether the different types of violence that affect students have been incorporated into the PCs of the Secondary Education schools.

• Identify whether there are specific objectives related to school violence in the PCs of Secondary Education schools and with which quality criteria this integration has been carried out.

• Analyze whether there are specific activities related to school violence in the PCs of secondary schools, and which are the quality criteria with which they have been integrated.

2. School Violence in Coexistence Programs

Research on school violence and coexistence already have a certain trajectory in Spain. In the nineties, Ortega [12] and Díaz-Aguado, Segura, Royo and Andrés [13] began to identify bullying. These authors propose lines of research related to aggression and peer harassment, and propose programs to improve these problems. The term coexistence is used in the academic-educational field by Carbonell [14] ; nevertheless, it was Jares [15] who focuses on coexistence as a transformative model of society that is promoted in educational centers. Later, Boqué [16] adds the concept of culture of peace as the denomination of any program that promotes the improvement of school coexistence, and Torrego [17] defends the importance of a specific regulation based on dialogue measures. Thus, in the 21st century, coexistence has gone from being a fact required by pioneering educational institutions or sensitized to a front-line objective that is included in the educational projects of the centers (hereinafter, PEC), creating specific programs to promote it [18].

In 2006, the Organic Law of Education (LOE) [19] projects coexistence as a priority educational objective. As a result, new Orders and Decrees are being legislated in the 17 autonomous communities of Spain to implement PCs; thus, in a period of three years practically all schools incorporate them into their administrative and management documents [18] . Subsequently, the Organic Law of Improvement of Educational Quality (LOMCE) [20] explicitly recognizes the need to educate for coexistence as a fundamental basis to achieve personal, social and academic success of students. The norm takes into account the principles of equity, inclusion, equality of rights and opportunities, elimination of discrimination, conflict prevention and peaceful resolution, non-violence, and the prevention of bullying and violence against children. gender; Despite this, cases of violence, bullying, aggression, disruption and indiscipline remain high, especially in the first and second years of ESO [21] and teachers complain about violent incidents and the lack of collaboration of the students and their families [22] . Why is this problem? It is likely that in this study we find some answers.

There are multiple protocols for prevention and intervention, especially in cases of school bullying that have been launched such as the Learning to be a person and to live together program: a program for secondary school [23] Sevillas antiviolencia escolar [24] , Andalusia School Violence [25] or the Integrated Model [17] , as well as the programs developed by public administrations, which translate into coexistence programs (hereinafter PC).

Article 124 of the LOMCE [20] regulates the organization, operation and coexistence in schools; it is ordered that all centers prepare a PC where all the activities they program will be collected in order to foster a good atmosphere of coexistence within the school, the realization of the rights and duties of the students, and the applicable corrective measures in case of non-compliance These projects, despite being interesting proposals, have not had the expected results.

In Spain there has been no study to evaluate the effectiveness of state CPs, only research has been conducted that have valued other proposals that some academics and experts have raised to improve coexistence in schools. Thus, Álvarez-García, Dobarro, Rodríguez Núñez and Álvarez [26] analyze these measures and conclude that there is a general tendency for students to consider less and less common the implementation of actions to improve coexistence; They argue that there is an evolution towards strategies based on the imposition and dissemination of norms and sanctions to the detriment of educational strategies such as conflict resolution, the consensus of norms and education in values. This is contrary to what might be expected, since the benefits of these measures are known in the classroom and center climate, and in academic performance [27] . Also Álvarez-García, Rodríguez, González-Castro, Núñez and Álvarez [28] and Penalva, Hernández and Guerrero [29] highlight the low importance attributed to the rules on school coexistence and Cerezo [22] argues that parents are not informed conveniently about the actions planned in the PC. Lately, Conde, Azaustre and Delgado [30] , based on the model of the European Foundation Quality Magnagement, have analyzed the coexistence in 46 Andalusian schools with the aim of describing the management of coexistence, confirming the validity of the model.

The increase in school violence that negatively affects coexistence and consequently to learning, and that calls into question the effectiveness of PC, has motivated the approach of the following research questions:

How has the prevention and intervention of school violence been integrated into the PCs of the Secondary Education centers?

Have specific objectives linked to the different types of school violence been included in the PCs of the Secondary Education schools?

What quality criteria do the objectives that have been included in the PCs have?

Have specific activities linked to the different types of school violence been designed and planned in the PC of the Secondary Education centers?

What quality criteria do the activities that have been integrated have?

3. Method

3.1. Sample

The sample consisted of 806 PCs of Compulsory Secondary Education Institutes of the 17 Autonomous Communities of Spain and was selected considering the availability of PCs in the web addresses of the centers themselves (Graph 1).

3.2. Instruments

In the absence of other similar studies, an ad hoc instrument was designed, the Evaluation Matrix of the Coexistence Program (hereinafter MPC). An initial version was prepared, consisting of 22 items, with reference to other research and relevant literature on the subject [17] [18] [22] [31] [32] .

The instrument was validated through expert judgment (5 researchers specialized in the subject) (hereinafter GIE), verifying the pertinence of the items according to their correspondence and adequacy with the basic components of the PC. In addition, a space was provided for each item in the matrix for the GIE to include its observations and/or recommendations. In order to synthesize in an

Graph 1. Percentage of the sample by autonomous communities.

operative way the GIE valuations on the adequacy of the selected indicators, the Osterlind Method [33] was used with a scale of three levels of congruence (−1 if it is low, 0 = if it is medium and 1 if it is high). 17 items reached a congruence of Osterlind greater than O, 5; each item had five possible valuations, based on the Likert Scale, with values ranging from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest: 2 items for diagnosis, 3 for objectives, 2 for activities, 1 for the temporalization, 1 for those responsible for the activities, 1 for the evaluation and 7 items for the objectives and activities related to the prevention and intervention of bullying and cyberbullying, with the behaviors that alter the coexistence in a serious and recidivist way (insults, threats, aggressions, fights and/or vandalism), with child abuse, with gender violence, with aggressions towards teachers and administrative and services staff, and with situations of violence outside the educational center that imply Some member of the center. In this study, the last 7 variables are analyzed.

Once the items of the questionnaire were determined, the reliability test was performed, which shows the constancy and precision of the measure. For this, Cronbach’s Alpha was used, which resulted in a coefficient of 0.876, concluding that the information collection instrument is optimal and reliable (Table 1).

3.3. Procedure

The participatory methodology was used to evaluate PCs [34] , whose basic principle is that in the evaluation of coexistence programs it is important to use the knowledge and experience of all those involved. As it was advanced, the study involved 5 expert professors-researchers belonging to the Interdisciplinary Research Group on School Violence and Indiscipline and 30 students, who attend the last semester of the Master’s Degree in Secondary Education, who

Table 1. Reliability statistics of the total elements.

volunteered in the project. The condition to be student evaluators of PCs (hereinafter EPC) was to have completed and passed the subject Society, Family and Education where they analyzed, from a theoretical-practical perspective, the disconnected factors that affect the climate of educational institutions, regulations on the PC and the design, development and execution of the PC.

Once the EPC were selected, following the criteria of the participatory evaluation [34] , a training program was carried out, consisting of 4 modules (Table 2), with the objective that the EPC acquire sufficient knowledge and skills to analyze the PCs in a coherent manner and responsible.

Subsequently, the GIE collected and selected the PC of the websites of the schools following the following criteria: 1) that the centers were of Secondary Education, 2) that the PC were valid in the academic courses 2014-2015 or 2015-2016 and 3) that the PC was a complete document and not just a summary or a partial publication. Initially, a first sample of 875 PCs was obtained, of which 69 were excluded because they did not meet any of the aforementioned criteria. Between the months of January and March 2017, PCs were analyzed, using the MPC validated by the GIE.

In order that the information was objective, reasoned and that the evaluations are the product of personal reflection [34] , in June and July of 2017 three more workshops were conducted, led by the GIE, where the EPC participated with In order to share experiences and/or to raise doubts about the PC evaluation process.

The GIE conducted a meta-evaluation on participatory-evaluative work [35] through a process of triangulation and critical review of the information provided by the EPC, achieving 95% of both quantitative and qualitative coincidences. Subsequently, the process of storing and organizing the information in a database was carried out, and the respective statistical analyzes were carried out with the SPSS program. v. 23.0.

4. Results

From the analysis of the CPs, a map of codes was obtained consisting of five categories that assess the presence and quality of the objectives and activities related to school violence, ranging from the “presence and quality of the objectives and activities that are observed” to “Never/no objectives and activities are observed, and there is absence of the attribute”. The attributes of each category are shown in Table 3.

Table 2. EPC training program.

Table 3. Quality criteria of the attributes of the objectives and activities.

Also, the findings determine a value of 3 for median, which means that “objectives and activities are observed regularly and have acceptable attributes. Consequently, 6 of the 7 variables analyzed represent the value of “never/no objectives and activities are observed and there is absence of the attribute” and only “almost always” is observed and the objectives linked to the behaviors that alter the quality have quality attributes. cohabitation in a serious and recidivist way (Table 4).

More specifically, the results show that in 41.5% of PCs there are no objectives or prevention or intervention activities linked to bullying and cyberbullying; in 21.5% there is a scarce presence of these, and only in 9.2% the inclusion of prevention objectives and activities is observed and in 12.3% of intervention activities before bullying and cyberbullying (Table 5 and Table 6).

On the other hand, in 18.5% of the analyzed cases there are no objectives or activities related to the behaviors that alter the coexistence in a serious and repeated manner, such as insults, threats, aggressions, fights and vandalism; 26.2% of PCs have such objectives and activities, but they are of low quality, while 33.8% of PCs have these objectives and activities and have been included with quality criteria (Table 7).

The findings also show that 84.6% of PCs have no objective or activity related to prevention and intervention in situations of child abuse, 9.2% have little

Table 4. Median of the specific objectives and activities.

Table 5. Objectives and activities linked to the prevention of bullying and cyberbullying.

Table 6. Objectives and activities linked to intervention in bullying and cyberbullying.

Table 7. Objectives and activities linked to behaviors that alter coexistence in a serious way.

presence of these objectives and activities and their attributes are low quality, and only in 3.1% of PC the attributes that are observed are of quality (Table 8).

Likewise, in 63.08% of PC there are no objectives or activities related to gender violence, in the 16.92%, these are of low quality and only in 4.62% the objectives and activities have quality criteria (Table 9).

On the other hand, 61.5% of PCs do not have objectives or activities related to the aggressions towards the teaching staff and the administration and services personnel; 21.5% includes this type of objectives and activities, but the attribute is of low quality, and only 7.7% have objectives and activities and their attributes are of quality (Table 10).

Finally, 66.2% of PCs do not take into account situations of violence outside the center involving a member of the center, in 20% of PCs consider these actions, but their attributes are of low quality and only in 3.1% of PC the attribute has a certain quality (Table 11).

5. Discussion and Conclusions

The general objective of this study was to identify if the coexistence programs designed and implemented, in Secondary Education in Spain, incorporate the prevention and intervention of the different types of school violence and know which are the criteria of quality of said incorporation.

The findings lead us to propose general and specific conclusions. In the first place, PCs, mostly, do not incorporate in their design and planning, the prevention or intervention of different types of school violence. This is alarming, not only because of the negative consequences in classroom climate and learning but because it has repercussions in society, since behavioral problems that manifest from adolescence can continue with more serious forms in adulthood [36] [37] . The investigation leads us to conclude that PC are, mostly, documents of a formal and bureaucratic nature, little or nothing strategic, being only the objectives and activities related to the behaviors related to insults, threats, aggressions, fights and vandalism which they have an almost permanent presence in these programs and have acceptable quality criteria.

Table 8. Objectives and activities linked to child maltreatment.

Table 9. Objectives and activities against gender violence.

Table 10. Objectives and activities in the face of aggressions towards teachers and PAS.

Table 11. Objectives and activities linked to situations of violence outside the center.

Specifically, the PCs do not consider mainly objectives or activities related to prevention or intervention against child abuse (84.62%), against gender violence (63.08%), do not take into account the situations of school violence that occurs outside the school that involves one of its members (66.15%), against aggressions towards teachers and staff and services (61.54%), or against bullying and cyberbullying (41.54%). Faced with this reality it is not surprising that cases of violence and harassment inside and outside the school are increasing excessively.

On the other hand, the criteria with which the objectives and activities have been incorporated to tackle school violence, if any, are of low quality; it has been found that the objectives are especially intervention and not prevention, although it has been shown that prevention has long-term effects that are more positive than intervention. Also, the objectives are not real and achievable. The planned activities are only planted at the classroom level and not at the center, there is no timing calendar and it is not known who are responsible for these activities; all this suggests that in reality these programs are not developed and are not met in schools. Schools have the potential to reduce the occurrence of problems of these behaviors, which is why a serious, coordinated, planned and effective educational action is necessary [38] .

The findings of the research also allow us to infer that teachers have little knowledge of resources for prevention and treatment of school violence problems, as Álvarez-García et al. [28] and González-Gil et al. [39] have shown. We emphasize the importance of initial and ongoing teacher training in prevention and intervention strategies that promote knowledge and mastery of specific actions to foster positive coexistence in the center (for example, awareness-raising activities, emotional education, incorporation of coexistence as a cross-cutting theme in the curriculum, training in values and conflict management).

Based on these results of the study, it is argued that a holistic, real and practical approach to school coexistence is necessary, led by educational administrations, by the school management and by teachers oriented to change in school culture.

This study can be a contribution to the investigation of school coexistence to prevent school violence; a guide to rethink a more realistic and contextualized design, and a supervised and controlled execution, that allows achieving the expected impact in the school and in the Spanish society.

Based on the findings and conclusions, the following recommendations are made:

・ It is a priority to change the role of the educational administration that should go from being the supervising entity that centers have the PC to support and accompany the process of design and implementation of PC.

・ The center’s management has to establish the appropriate mechanisms, based on dialogue [40] , so that the entire educational community gets involved in the actions envisaged in the PC.

・ Encourage initial teacher training and teacher professional development, incorporating specific contents on coexistence in the Bachelor’s Degree and Secondary Education Master’s programs, such as the learning of mediation, negotiation and conflict resolution techniques, the acquisition of communication skills, emotional competences and cooperative learning.

・ Carry out specific training programs on the prevention of school violence aimed at the directors and coexistence committees of the centers.

Develop intervention actions and, especially, actions to prevent violence in schools, promoting prosocial behaviors and socio-emotional skills, preventing disruptive behaviors and fostering the resilience of students and teachers [41] [42] [43] .

Cite this paper

Merma-Molina, G., Ramos, M.A.Á. and Ruiz, M.Á.M. (2018) The School Violence in the Coexistence Programs of the Spanish Educational System. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 6, 82-97.


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