Address: Via Polaresco 19, 24126 Bergamo.

Country: Italy

 School website

Project: “Bullying is not a game”

Working language during the project:

  • Italian

Themes of the Council of Europe campaign “FREE to SPEAK, SAFE to LEARN - Democratic Schools for All” covered:

  • Preventing violence and bullying
  • Tackling discrimination
  • Improving well-being at school

Competences from the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (CDC) addressed and where / how they were integrated:

  • Valuing human dignity and human rights
    Respect, human rights and fundamental freedoms were the focus of conferences and school activities. Linguistic, history and law lessons focused on themes such as equal dignity, cultural differences, status, abilities. Students understood how important it is to defend those who might be disempowered and disadvantaged within the community.
  • Responsibility
    Thanks to targeted law lessons, students understood their duties and obligations and how they ought to act in relation to a particular situation, based on a value or set of values. They also understood the consequences of personal decisions and actions.
  • Co-operation skills
    In technical and vocational subjects, students organised the design work in order to create different outputs. They cooperated with others in a reciprocal and coordinated manner, identifying roles, tasks, a time-schedule and setting group goals.

Target group age range:

  • 15 - 19

Level of education:

  • Upper secondary education

Short description of the project:

Over the years Istituto Caniana has paid a great deal of attention to many of the themes that are part of The Free To Speak Safe To Learn campaign. Some of the most relevant features and driving forces in our vision of the school are: spreading democratic culture among students, promoting self-expression, social inclusion and active citizenship.

Among all the different projects that take their inspiration from these guidelines the “Bullying is Not a Game” project touches on different aspects of the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture. The project also implements the recent national school curricula guidelines in terms of civic education and social responsibility. Indeed, all these values, known as “Citizenship and Constitutional law” are now compulsory in the Italian Secondary school system, becoming an integral part of the final exam.

The project explores these subjects:

  • Preventing violence, bullying and cyberbullying.
  • Human rights violations.
  • Making society a better place; free from violence and abuse.

Within the framework of this project the whole-school works at different levels (depending on the school year) on an anti-bullying, human rights programme, which promotes a learning environment where no violence is allowed. The project not only aims to make students aware of the problem, recognise it and act effectively against this kind of human rights violation but, with a domino effect, aims to spread knowledge of the democratic values in everyday life, within the family, the local community, making society a better place with no abuse or violence.

These themes are mainly directed at the younger students (1st, 2nd and 3rd year) as recent studies show that children aged between 11 and 17 are at the center of the problem (although the most critical period is between 11 and 13). The phenomenon occurs in school or in a virtual environment. But a bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other, from the home to the workplace.

The project started with an online questionnaire addressed to all students, which produced some interesting statistics, supported with comments from the students on the phenomenon of bullying as it was personally experienced by them.

Over the course of two years, the project has seen a full programme of conferences, seminars and activities involving a large number of students and teachers.

The project has been developed thanks to the teachers (whom integrated their curricula programme) but also with the help of experts who held conferences and events to talk about the topic. Some of the most important have been:

Conference “Bullismo, cyber bullismo e molestie” held by a team of journalists from the national newspaper “Corriere della Sera”. The conference gave space also to a lively Q&A time with the students’ questions to the journalists.

Conference held by a lawyer and volunteer of the Bergamo UNICEF Committee. The conference inquired into the meaning of the terms "bullying" and "cyberbullying" (with practical examples) to reveal the civil and criminal consequences resulting from these acts.

Students attended the play “Banna il Bullo” (Ban the Bully), a show which broaches the issues of bullying and cyberbullying paying particular attention to the psychological and emotional dynamics involving parents and children.

Some classes (third year) took part in the “Inter-force Citizenship and Legality Education” project. It was a training activity promoted by the Vittime del Dovere Association, the State Police and the Territorial School Department. During the second part of the conference pupils could interact freely with the police officers about the issue.

Students got great results in different contests about bullying and cyberbullying and an internal exhibition showcasing their work was set up in the school’s hall and corridors.


  • Preventing violence and bullying.
  • Awareness of the bullying and cyber bullying phenomenon.
  • Tackling discrimination.
  • Knowledge and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
  • Improving well-being at school.
  • Critical thinking and reflection on the complexity of the contemporary world.
  • Correct use of digital technologies and social media.
  • Identification of dangerous situations online and offline.
  • Team work skills: designing a multimedia product on the subject, implementing it through visual and communication tools, sharing ideas with the group and presenting the project to a wider audience.

Expected results/outcomes

  • Students respect, protect and become promoters of the human rights
  • Students promote social responsibility identifying and taking action against episodes of bullying they undergo or witness.
  • Students improve their communication skills
  • Student improve their digital and technological skills
  • Students improve their ability to analyse issues and come up with solutions.
  • Students improve their cooperative learning and team-work skills
  • Multimedia outcome: video, digital animation, posters and T-shirts on the subject.
  • Online campaign through the school’s Facebook page and website and during the final school year show which takes place in a theatre.
  • Essays on the subject

Students ranked in the first place within the "Best Multimedia Works" category in the “Progetto Educazione alla Cittadinanza e alla Legalità” (launched by “Vittime del Dovere Association”) with the digital animation "Cyberbullying and cyberstalking: get to understand them to defend yourself" and with the following aims: "the messages of the individual graphics are original and they visually convey clear concepts". This video is permanently hosted on the homepage of school’s website.

Caniana Institute's commitment to the project was further recognised the the award of a special bronze medal by the Lombardy Regional Council for the largest number and the quality of work produced on cyberbullying and cyberstalking theme.

Students took part in the national competition “Scollègati dal bullismo” launched by the Ministry of Public Education. Their anti-bullying campaign got great results, and was selected at regional level by the USR Lombardia and sent over to the Ministry of Public Education to compete for the national stage of the contest.

Students took part in the video contest project “No Bullies be Friends”: kids simulated bullying situations in order to produce a short film. The activity helped them understand so much better the consequences of bullying on victims.

On the 7th February 2018 and 2019 our school joined the celebrations of “The National Day of Action against Bullying and Cyberbullying”, setting up an exhibition in the school. The exhibition showcases the students’ work which focuses on the main features of the problem. The exhibition was the results of the students’ analysis of the materials featured on different sites selected by the teachers and the free brain-storming that followed all activities and conferences. Students of the Graphic Design course made posters, videos and digital animations showcasing striking headlines and photographs, while students from the Fashion Design course made some really impactful T-shirts with No Bulls logos.


  • Students adopt core human rights values in their every-day-life.
  • Increased awareness of the students of bullying symptoms, online and offline.
  • Teachers, parents and students take part together in the bullying prevention and intervention.
  • Improvement on problem solving and team-work skills
  • Visual and informative material was produced and remains a permanent source of knowledge and social condemnation of the phenomenon.
  • Improvement in cooperation between the school and other stakeholders such as the State Police, the Territorial School Department, different Associations, Journalists, media and other institutions.

Challenges you faced

  • very tight time schedule to organise some of the activities
  • introduction of new elements and skills in the school year curricula programme
  • designing the project exhibition and making it happen

Time-frame of the project:

School years 2017/18 and 2018/19 - the project is still ongoing.

Council of Europe materials on citizenship and human rights education used while preparing or implementing your practice:

  • Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture
  • Living Democracy - manuals for teachers
  • Compasito
  • Multimedia Material (ex. video “Beat Bullying”, series of cartoons “Democracy and Human Rights at School”, video “Corporal punishment at school: how two parents decided to change things”)
  • Other: Law books, Italian Constitution, different online sources.