On 9 June, a video appeared on Twitter showing a boy being beaten by his peer in a school restroom. The author of the tweet described him with the words: „Ukraińcy już rezają Polaków w polskich szkołach” (Eng.: “Ukrainians are already beating up Poles in Polish schools”). The video with fake comment has been viewed more than 400,000 times. In the article, we explain that this scene of aggression was filmed in Russia, not in Poland.
Russian high school in Turochak
The word “rezać” used in the comment is not a random one – it comes from Ukrainian рíзати, which literally translates as “to cut”. This is probably a reference to the Volyn massacre. To identify the source material, we began from searching for individual frames from the film using the image search. Unfortunately, to no avail. As noted by Internet users commenting on the video, both boys speak Russian. So, we entered the phrase “school toilet” in Russian in Yandex and selected “recently added images”. This allowed us to find a post on the newsburst.ru portal, which in turn refers to an article in Komsomolskaya Pravda dated 7 June. According to the text, the recorded situation took place on 2 May in Russia, specifically in a high school in the village of Turochak, in the Altai Republic. Law enforcement authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against the bully who beat up the other boy.
According to the investigators, the reason for the attack was a dispute over a vaporizer. The victim of the attack allegedly appropriated it. He then returned it, but the attacker decided to bring him to justice himself. State officials are to investigate the conditions in which the perpetrator is brought up.
Aggression in schools
Violence in schools knows no borders, so the scenes in the film could have happened in any country. According to a 2017 UNESCO study, around 30% of all students experience some form of aggression at school each year. Data shows that the least cases of bullying occur in Central America (22.8%), whereas it is most common in Sub-Saharan Africa (48.2%). By contrast, in Europe, as in the Caribbean, about a quarter of students are victims of violent behaviour in schools. A summary of the study from all regions is presented in the graphic below. The UNESCO report also contains a number of recommendations aimed at combating school violence. They include, among others:
- training for teachers on violence and bullying as well as positive classroom management;
- routine data collection to monitor the prevalence of school violence;
- commitment to children’s rights and student empowerment;
- systemic support for victims of violence and bullying at school.
The video shared with a false context is yet another example of low-key anti-Ukrainian propaganda. The scene of aggression at the school depicted in the film took place in Russia, not in Poland. However, school bullying is a global problem. According to UNESCO research, as many as 1/3 of all students in the world experience school violence.