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Aleksa would have been 22 today, but he killed himself because of peer violence. His law didn't pass

During this time, peer violence has become popular, an Instagram topic, something that children do not raise their voices against, but instead raise their phones, and are not gathering the courage to stop it, but instead collect views and shares

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Aleksa Janković, Aleksin zakon

Foto: Facebook/AlexaJankovic

Aleksa Jankovic from Nis would today be a young man of 22 had he not committed suicide in 2011, no longer able to cope with the peer violence to which he was exposed at school. A proposal for harsher punishment of students who commit such violence called "Aleksa's Law," has not been adopted. In recent days, Serbia has been inundated with videos of children tormenting each other or continuously. For such behavior, they generally receive reduced conduct grades.

The kids because of whom Aleksa didn't want to go to school eight years ago were just kids, too. About 14, 15 years old - just likes the victim, participants and witnesses to a case of peer violence in Barajevo, which has since last week has not ceased to disgust the country.

Some point the finger at parents, thinking they should be punished, others would send the violent girls to a correctional facility, others still would sack the minister, blamesthe children who stood around and laughed at the slaps their friend was receiving, or solve everything with money fines for all responsible persons and their guardians.

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Fortunately, children from Barajevo will be given a second chance to look in the mirror and ask themselves what kind of person they are growing up to be, they will get a chance to improve, while the child who survived violence will get a chance to recover. Let's hope they use it.

But there can be no solution when a child suffering violence commits suicide. When a child jumps off the balcony, or slashes their wrists, or hangs themselves in the barn because "children are only children." And we, who are not children, persistently turn our heads away and when a tragedy or a warning occurs, we get a little clever, we get a little disgusted, and in fact we allow the only changes in society to be cosmetic and not essential. Violent children, children who are also in evident need of help, are transferred to another class, receive reduced conduct grades, don't go to school for a while... The victim is buried or forgotten over time. Unless it's our own child.

During this time, peer violence has become popular, an Instagram topic, something that children do not raise their voices against, but instead raise their phones, and are not gathering the courage to stop it, but instead collect views and shares. Every day, new clips of child abuse at the hands of their classmates appear in the media and on social networks. Kids beat each other in the middle of the schoolyard, in parks, over gossip, over a boyfriend...

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During all that time, Dragana Jankovic, Aleksa's mother, fought for the adoption of Aleksa's Law, which is aimed at combating violence among children. But as she has been told, this law would not be passed.

"Aleksa's Law will not be adopted and we have said it repeatedly. One of the reasons why it can't be adopted, as we have been told, is that it does not comply with European conventions on the rights of the child, i.e., that more severe punishments against the child-student who commits violence in a school would ostracize them from society, that is, the community. The paradox is that some key parts of Aleksa's Law are reformulated precisely from the countries that are the creators of these conventions and where they are even stricter," says Dragana Jankovic.

"Parts of Aleksa's Law have in fact entered a new law on the basics of upbringing and education, but the two most important items, harsher penalties for students who commit violence in schools but also those responsible at the school who do not react or who cover up violence, did not. And that is the essence of Aleksa's Law, that's what Aleksa's Law is! This was happening to Aleksa and it is happening to other children now, because all cases of violence, but also the reactions of those responsible in some schools, are almost identical," she told Nedeljnik last year.


Aleksa's Law implies a change in multiple legal acts that govern different areas, but their common denominator is the fight against peer violence.

In addition to introducing stricter punitive measures against teachers and parents, for the first time in our country there would be suspension of students and transfer of students to another institution without parental consent. Suspensions would be a new disciplinary punishment by which the student is removed from the class for a certain period of time.

The idea was to shift the problem of deviant behavior to the family: parents, guardians, foster parents, and others who perform the function and role of a parent to the child.

Vršnjačko nasilje, Tinejdžeri, tuča, škola, deca, nasilje, fajt

Vršnjačko nasilje je problem koji pohađa svaku sferu društva Foto: Profimedia

One of the novelties is the so-called "student behavior agreement". This amendment provides for a delay of the student's suspension for minor violations of their obligations if, with the consent of the parents and with assistance and support of the professional service of the institution, he or she concludes a behavioral agreement with the institution.

Another proposal was to set up a separate body in each institution to deal exclusively with organizing and conducting activities aimed at preventing peer violence. The director would be required to form a mixed peer violence prevention team. Peer violence prevention teams now exist in our country.

Do you think that Serbia needs a better systemic solution to combat peer violence? Do you think it needs to be more effectively sanctioned outside the school, not just inside it? Let us know in the comments.


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