Too little done against bullying according to most appeal cases
Norwegian students have been heeded in four out of five cases involving bullying where county officials have assessed whether the schools have fulfilled their duty to intervene.
One year after the introduction of a stricter law regarding bullying and an improved appeals scheme to the county governors, figures show that students win in the huge majority of the cases being appealed about.
During the first year with the appeals scheme, a total of 1,402 cases have been reported to the county governors regarding decisions in cases of bullying. Of the 1,146 finalized cases, 372 were either withdrawn or rejected. In the remaining 774 cases where the county governors have considered whether the school has broken the activity obligation or not, they found that the school had intervened too little in four out of five counts.
– The Norwegian school is supposed to be a safe and good place to be. It is unacceptable that so many students and parents find that the school does too little to stop bullying, says Minister of Knowledge and Integration, Jan Tore Sanner (Conservatives) to NTB in a comment on the figures.
Most violations of the rules in Telemark and Vestfold
There are differences between the counties in how many complaints and how often the county governor believes the school has broken the duty of activity.
The county councils found the most violations in Telemark and Vestfold. In those counties, there were violations in 100 and 94 per cent of cases, respectively. The least rule violation was found in Troms, where a mere 52 per cent of the cases went in favour of the complainant.
In the vast majority of counties, the percentage of findings in favour of the student is very high. No county other than Troms is below 70 per cent.
The altered bullying law also provides for issuing fines in very serious cases. Hamar municipality received a fine of NOK 100,000 last year and was the only municipality that was issued with one during the previous school year.
– Children are vulnerable, and it is important that both the school and parents address a poor school environment and bullying as early as possible. There must be a zero tolerance of mobbing and bullying. It is therefore important that those who experience bullying, inform about it, and make use of the provisions in the regulations, says Sanner.
Ombudsman for bullying
The appeal system is intended to allow parents and students to complain if they believe the school does not react to bullying seriously enough.
He says the Government has doubled the grant to the appeal system to ensure prompt treatment. In 2018, a total of NOK 34 million will be allocated to the scheme.
– We need to help the students immediately when mobbing and bullying occurs, and it should always pay to blow the whistle. The county councils are to help the students ASAP and ensure that both municipalities and schools are better at following up and stop the bullying, says Sanner.
He points out that this autumn there will also be an Ombudsman for mobbing in all counties. The Ombudsman is to be responsible for everyone attending kindergarten or primary school. The scheme came into fruition as part of the budget agreement with the Christian Democrats (KrF) in 2018.
The ombudsman has no formal sanctions at disposal but is to work preventively and be a low-threshold offer for children and parents needing assistance.
The number of bullying cases appealed to the county governors offices during the period from August 1st, 2017 and June 31st, 2018
|Øst- and Vest-Agder||56||48||86|
|Møre and Romsdal||32||23||72|
|Oslo and Akershus||97||87||90|
|Sogn and Fjordane||15||12||80|
Total: 1,402 reported cases, 1,146 of which are finalized. Of the finalized cases – 372 were withdrawn or rejected.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today