Intervenes in Drangedal bullying cases

bullying DrangedalBullying. Photo: Sara Johannessen / SCANPIX

The State intervenes in Drangedal bullying cases

The County Governor has issued orders to the Drangedal School (1st – 10th grade) in three bullying cases in recent years, but the municipality refuses to follow up. Now, the Norwegian state intervenes.

“The cases all ended with the parents winning through with their complaint. Following the last case, the County Governor has been at the school to guide on the application of the Education Act,” Senior Adviser at the County Governor of Vestfold & Telemark, Marit Gravklev, informs.

49 previous students have contacted lawyer Vibeke Hein Bæra since last autumn. The former pupils allege that they have been bullied at the schools in Drangedal. The cases date back to the seventies.

The County Governor of Vestfold & Telemark opened an audit case against Drangedal 10-year school in January. The reason is not the number of cases, but the lack of legal understanding and offences as a result of this, according to Gravklev. The audit case is scheduled to be completed this autumn.

Thanks, but no thanks

The schools in Drangedal have been offered to join the Follow-up Scheme under the auspices of the Education Directorate, according to Hugstmyr. This is because they have a score below the critical limit regarding several conditions in the learning environment.

Drangedal Municipality refused to participate in this scheme in 2017.

Municipal Manager, and Principal at Drangedal 10-year school, Stein Hugstmyr, tells NTB that he doesn’t have an overview of what was the basis thereof. the municipality has been offered to partake once again. Drangedal submitted an application last week, thus accepting the offer.

Hugstmyr emphasises that he became the Headmaster just recently.

Enduring problem

Studies reveal that bullying has been a problem at Drangedal 10-year school in recent years.

According to figures from the Pupil Survey 2017-2018, 25.6 per cent of the pupils in the 10th Grade answered that they have been bullied at least 2-3 times a month.

Last school year, the figure has dropped to 14 per cent of the pupils. The national bullying/mobbing average is 6.1 per cent.

“The student survey shows that the municipality has challenges with bullying. Even though the result is improving, it is still above the national average. Obviously, it says something about the challenges we face,” the Municipal Manager, cum Headmaster, points out.



Significant number of cases in Drangedal

There have been a dozen bullying cases at the school, where activity plans and measures have been prepared, in the past two years, Hugstmyr enlightens. In three of these cases, the school has thus received orders from the County Governor’s office.

Hugstmyr says that it is not a pleasant situation to be in, but that it is administrative school owner who is responsible for ensuring that the necessary systems are in place.

“It is natural that in some cases one cannot meet the requirements that have been set. This is because there has been a significant number of cases for the school to deal with,” he concludes.

39 student files

The lawyer of the 49 former pupils has submitted requests for access to their student files. She has received 39, so far.

“Claims for compensation will be made against the municipality in these cases,” The lawyer tells NTB.

“It will be considered – on an individual basis – whether cases will be passed on to the court if the demands to the municipality are not met,” Bæra concludes.

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