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A third of Swedish pupils fear school bullies

A third of Swedish pupils fear school bullies

Published: 23 Aug 2010 08:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Aug 2010 08:29 GMT+02:00

Ten percent of pupils in Swedish schools have been subjected to physical bullying, with a up to a third of 14-17-year-olds concerned over starting school again after the summer, a new survey by anti-bullying group Friends has shown.

A third of the 1,165 young people have been bullied physically, have been frozen out or exposed to harassment.

"According to the survey 48 percent of pupils which have at some point felt exposed to bullying or offensive behaviour. It is unacceptable that so many experience school as an unsafe place," said Katarina Rosenqvist at Friends in a statement.

Rosenqqvist added that the survey, which is conducted annually, shows that there is much work to be done to counter bullying in schools.

"It is a clear sign that the work against bullying should be intensified," she said.

The survey showed that a fifth of school pupils would not dare speak up when they had been victims of bullying, and 30 percent did not know who they would approach at their school in any case.

"Aside from schools working more actively with everyday security factors, with conscious preventative measures, they have to involve pupils in this work. Pupil participation is a recognised success factor in getting rid of the problem," Rosenqvist explains.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:52 August 23, 2010 by calebian22
A stiff pop to the nose is a good bully breaker, but that would not be acceptable I suppose here in Sweden.
11:01 August 23, 2010 by flintis
I have a teenager who has been the subject of bullying & is now under psychiatric care because of the threats & abuse. Being an immigrant myself I am dismayed to say that all of the culprits in this case were of Asian (Turkish, Iraqi), African (Ethiopian) & eastern European origin (Albanien). Being threatened with weapons in school is unacceptable, about time the punishment fit the crime, community service for such offences is a joke.
11:35 August 23, 2010 by spo10
So ironic that the very people who are instigating these bullying are the immigrants themselves. The school should impose tougher demerits to all bullies out there and forget community service! They should be locked up somewhere for a week or two - depending on the gravity of the offense.
11:57 August 23, 2010 by jeffi_in_denmark
Leadership must be shown from above. If teachers are not willing to step in, if administration is not willing to put out a zero tolerance message, then it will never stop. It doesn't matter what colour your skin or your point of origin. As one who works with youth (and yes, I have a zero tolerance policy with those in my charge and it works lovely thank you) and as anyone who works with youth know, it is NOT about race or citizenship status. Children and youth have to feel safe at school and to and from. We need to do a bit more to protect our young people from abuse, no matter where that abuse originates. And the safety must be guaranteed by those we entrust our children to on a daily basis.
12:32 August 23, 2010 by Elias06
I dont think its a good idea to link categories of people to bullying, but its sad and not normal that we miss the best opportuny to "educate" people by not punishing severely, if you dont punish severely the guy bullying everyone at school at the age of 14 or 15, he wont only do it at school: it will become a normal habit that he can repeat everywhere (pubs clubs football stadiums trains...) , i know that its difficult to punish a "child" but we cant tolerate children scared of going to schools because of some "uneducated" boys
15:20 August 23, 2010 by flintis
@ Elias06: it's not just "uneducated" boys, it's girls and boys both "educated & uneducated".

Punishment should be at least 10 strokes of the birch, a good old fashioned deterrent that works.
15:57 August 23, 2010 by billyb362
"flintis - I have a teenager who has been the subject of bullying & is now under psychiatric care because of the threats & abuse. Being an immigrant myself I am dismayed to say that ALL of the culprits in this case were of Asian (Turkish, Iraqi), African (Ethiopian) & eastern European origin (Albanien)"

"spo10 - So ironic that the very people who are instigating these bullying are the immigrants themselves"

Ya know what? I could almost suspect that flintis and spo10 are actually Swedes incognito, attempting to place the focus and blame on immigrants, exclusively. Because, as we all know, Swedish kids are well known for being very polite, considerate and well-mannered, especially at school, and toward their immigrant peers. Wink wink.

Maybe it's just me, but I smell a foul odor in these complaints that exclude Swedish kids being responsible for any form of bullying...
20:14 August 23, 2010 by Canada_Girl
Eradicating bullying will be impossible. It's been around as long as people have been on this earth. There are two issues at play here. One, the bully. Two, the victim who lacks the confidence to stand up for her/himself. Bullies only seek out those they perceive as weak. Be confident, and they'll stay away.

@ jeffi_in_denmark - Saying that teachers and administration need to take care of the problem is a nice sentiment but impossible to enforce. Parents of aggressive kids will cry foul, and these little terrors will always find a way to engage in bullying behaviour.

@ calebian22 - I completely agree. Nothing diminishes a bully faster than a punch in the face. Bullies back down when challenged.
23:38 August 23, 2010 by Just_Kidding
Bullies are usually those immigrants who think that they know better and know how to fit in. They enjoy making life difficult to the new comers. It is difficult for the victims to stand up for themselves because they don't know the rules of engagement in the new society and are afraid that any attempt will make them look more unfit. It is a good idea to have an education of acceptable ways of self defense for new comers.

@Canadagirl: you said: "I completely agree. Nothing diminishes a bully faster than a punch in the face. Bullies back down when challenged".

I agree that the bully's are cowards, but a Canadian girl punching a bully's face will look cool, but it wouldn't work the same way for an Iraqi guy if he punches a bullying French female; everybody will blame the Iraqi guy.
03:27 August 24, 2010 by JoeSwede
It all starts in the home and in the church. The decline of the family and the Lutheran church in Sweden has led to the growth of the state and a vacum has been created. School bullying in only one manifestation of this.

A third seems a little high though...

New immigrants don't have a strong cultural anchor within society. Respect for family and church might be off due to the tremendous change in living environment.

Bullying sucks big time.
04:24 August 24, 2010 by Carbarrister
Bullying in school will always be a problem but there are ways to mitigate it. Dicipline by school administrators must be swift. Let parents know there is zero tolerance. It was that way at my son's school when he was that age. My son was small but very tough and athletic. He was pushed down by a much larger boy, retaliated and gave the bigger boy a black eye and a bloody nose. Both boys were suspended for three days. I was secretly proud of him but I supported the school and told them to ratchet up their enforcement. Not only was he never picked on again but he recruited all the football players to act as body guards for the children who were subject to bullying. It became "cool" to be a body guard and not cool to be a bully.
07:35 August 24, 2010 by flintis
@billyb362: tell that to my child.

The school attended does have a MINORITY of Swededs in attendance, but the bullies are all immigrants, one of which is now sitting inside for weapon & drug offences
09:38 August 24, 2010 by wabasha
I was bullied a little bit when I was 13. I waited for gym class after a long run and pushed him into a wall and punched him in the stomach. problem solved
12:23 August 24, 2010 by spo10
@billyb362: i'm an immigrant. and i'm not saying that Swedish kids don't bully. in my point of view, these kids (immigrants) should've conformed to rules and made examples of themselves. i'm ashamed that they're bullying other kids because of their numbers and because of their stupid principles. i bet their parents don't even know about their stupidities. and as for Swedish kids that bullies, that's no excuse either to bully. overall, the school should make a huge impact onto these kids and should not tolerate any form of discrimination or bullying against student.
22:46 August 24, 2010 by wxman
What? It doesn't bother the other two thirds?
15:54 August 25, 2010 by billyb362
Now this is interesting;

Swedish government passes a law 'banning home-schooling', making alternative education illegal, with no exceptions.

One of the primary reasons given, the kids need healthy social interaction that only the government school can provide them with. So now we don't have to worry about our kids having limited 'social interaction', we just have to worry about them being harassed, intimidated, humiliated, threatened and bullied at school - and yes, this type of activity no doubt sabotages their academic studies; but at least they're getting that much-needed 'social interaction'.

Now, we parents have to compensate for our kids academic deficiency, and spend one-on-one time with them in their school subjects at home; and we'll also have to intervene about this 'bullying' thing at school, and assist educational officials in doing their job. Guess we'll enroll our kids in a karate class so they'll learn to kick some serious ass when being bullied; This will supplement the 'social interaction' their getting at school.

It seems we parents are having to get greatly involved here, doesn't it? At least the Swedish government can be comforted to know that we parents will compensate for everything the public school system lacks - we just won't refer to it as 'home-schooling.'...cause that practice is 'against the law' here in Sweden!
01:36 August 26, 2010 by Luke35711
Are you sure Swedish parents got what it takes to defend their children? I suspect many parents themselves are bullied at work. Dagens Nyheter have run recently a series on the Swedish phenomenon of adult bullying. One of a few social problems that seem to be worse in Sweden than everywhere else. I blame social isolation, general passivity, and poor humanistic education. This is, after all, a Northern nation with recent roots in extremely isolated peasant life. There are many secrets to keep secret.
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