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The Belgian school reopens in an alarmist mode

Psychological problems and cyberstalking draw the portrait of a youth very often in disarray.



Psychological problems and cyberstalking draw the portrait of a youth very often in disarray.

From our correspondent Max HELLEFF (Brussels) – As in Luxembourg, compulsory education reopened its doors on Monday in Belgium, by re-issuing the health measures that were applicable before the Easter holidays. Everyone resumes face-to-face lessons, with the exception of the last four years of secondary school (14-18 year-olds) which will alternate classroom attendance and distance lessons.

This new school year is an opportunity for a series of medical experts to remind the media of how “essential” the role schools play “not only in the academic training of students but also in their bio-psycho-social health”. They add that “the damage caused by the closing of schools on the health of young people is considerable, in the short term and probably in the longer term”. They demand more prevention and therapeutic care.

In recent days, the news has shed a harsh light on another scourge affecting young people. Driven by confinement, cyberstalking is developing at high speed on the web. A recent study affirms that one in three French-speaking students is the victim. Mockery, various threats, revenge porn… everything goes. The phenomenon would contribute to throwing teenagers into prostitution, their harassers blackmailing them.

The judicial route

Several projects are open to find a solution. The Minister of the Interior Vincent Van Quickenborne wants to modify the Constitution to more easily bring the authors of hate speech in correctional. A resolution was adopted by the Wallonia-Brussels Federation in January in order to fight, among other things, against cyberbullying. The aim here is to strengthen the tools to prevent and control hate speech, but also to focus on raising awareness of this phenomenon.

The same Federation was condemned in September 2020 as the organizing power of a school that had not reacted to the call for help from a student victim of harassment.

It is precisely through the judicial process that many cases could be settled in the future. But at what cost? A new postponement has just been pronounced in the trial of the main suspect of the harassment campaign on social networks which led to the suicide of Maëlle, a young girl from the Charleroi region. Videos where she was naked had circulated in her school. His executioner faces a sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison, according to his lawyer. In Liège, it is a man in his twenties who finds himself in… sitting for insulting the victim of a sexual assault on Facebook. A first.

A Brussels court has just imposed a sentence of six months in prison, including 15 days in prison, on a man who had insulted a former weather presenter of the public channel. RTBF. The Cécile Djunga case began in the summer of 2017 when the young woman of Congolese origin burst into tears after being the subject of yet another racist comment. One spectator had found it “too dark” to appear on TV. However, it is another of his detractors who has just been sentenced for violent and racist comments.

On leaving the court, Cécile Djunga explained how painful this legal process had been for her. “It’s an excellent thing”, noted The evening, that such a well-known personality was successful in court. Its popularity should encourage all young people who suffer from cyber hatred to dare to fight publicly to denounce their torturers.


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