Teenagers arrested in police investigations into school bullying in Fuengirola and Estepona

Mercedes Labrador school in Fuengirola.
Mercedes Labrador school in Fuengirola. / Iván Gelibter
  • National Police forces have been investigating a case in Fuengirola and two in Estepona as bullying incidents in schools continue to rise

The number of recent serious bullying offences in schools should be treated as "isolated cases in context", but these are nonetheless causing a lot of concern in the regional government, according to the regional minister for education, Adelaida De la Calle.

Her statement came after six minors in total were arrested in two major incidents in Fuengirola and Estepona.

The case in Fuengirola saw four young people arrested after the victim's father was himself witness to the bullying, having had suspicions that all was not well with his son beforehand.

Having arranged to pick his son up from the Mercedes Labrador secondary school after class, he saw one boy approach his son and pull the hood of his sweatshirt over his head.

He then threatened to hit the victim, which forced the father to get out of his car and run towards the boys, with the aggressor fleeing upon seeing him heading towards them.

The teenager was already being insulted on a daily basis by three minors, who attended the same school as him, and also by a fourth child at another school, before events escalated and became violent.

The three minors at Mercedes Labrador, who worryingly were also said to have threatened the boy by putting a penknife to his throat, have been suspended by the school while they are being investigated by police.

The school has also taken immediate internal action, which includes changing classes and counselling for the boy.

National Police were also alerted to a similar situation in Estepona by the parents of a boy who confessed that he was being constantly insulted by three classmates at the Juan XXIII school and that they had threatened to beat him up.

Two minors were consequently arrested, while a third is not criminally liable at just 13 years old.

The boy has since seen a psychologist specialised in bullying, while the police are also investigating the possibility of a second victim of the same group of teenagers.

A second investigation in the same municipality is also underway after a video of a girl being assaulted on the street was circulating on WhatsApp between students at Monterroso, another local secondary school. The video also shows other young people at the school cheering while the incident was taking place.

According to the Cisneros X Report, which includes bullying statistics across Spain, 27.7 per cent of pupils suffer bullying at school in Andalucía, while other research carried out by the Centro Reina Sofía found that 75 per cent of the students surveyed have witnessed some form of bullying at their schools.

Such statistics have alarmed the regional government's Education ministry, with De la Calle reassuring parents that these cases "will be treated with the same seriousness and rigour as any other".