France to send bullies to a different school in new strategy to strengthen protections for victims

school bully

This year’s La Rentrée will mark not only the start of a new school year, but also a new era of proactive measures combatting in-school bullying and cyberbullying, as well as better protections for victims.  

As of September 2023, perpetual bullies may be transferred out of current schools without the consent of their parents or legal guardians in order to better protect their victims. The revision of France’s educational code hopes to halt the trend of victims choosing to move school and instead force bullies to relocate, even if their parents don’t agree.  

Bullying is defined by the government as “repeated violence that can be verbal, physical or psychological” and it is not acceptable in any form at schools.  

The French government has come down hard on these behaviours in recent years. Since March 2022, school harassment has been considered an offense and dealing with it relies on a strict set of guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Education and Youth.  


Now the authorities have gone a step further, adopting a new measure that states that schools can remove a pupil from their current school if their “intentional and repeated behaviour poses a proven risk to the safety or health of other students”.  

It is applicable across all age groups, from primary through to high school, and also allows for procedures to be launched against students from other establishments in the case of cyberbullying.  


The new measure paves the way to remove bullies after repeated efforts to solve the problem have been made.  

Initially, the school is encouraged to try and rectify the situation in cooperation with the parents and students concerned. Then, if this does not solve the problem, government officials can step in with an on-site team to assess and fix the situation.  

If there is no resolution after this, the third step is to allow schools to remove the harasser without consent of the child’s parents or legal guardians. The mayor of the town must approve the request before finalising the move.  


Last year, the pHARe anti-harassment programme was implemented. In 2023, it manages a network of 400 academic and departmental referents across the country, who deal with harassment situations reported by school heads. As of September, the programme will be extended to include high schools. 

Additionally, the authorities are pushing the two designated emergency numbers, 3018, the national bullying hotline, and 3020, the victim’s listening and support number, to remind students they have voices in this matter.  

Staff training has also been stepped up to make sure teachers and administrators are au courant on how to manage and handle situations when they arise.  


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Photo source: Taylor Flowe, Unsplash