Schools minister calls for bullying law

Schools must be forced to use tried and tested methods to combat bullying - and those methods which can be shown to work should be written into education law. That was the view put forward by Sweden's schools minister Jan Björklund at the Liberal Party's national conference in Örebro on Sunday.

“Almost all schools in Sweden have different plans for bullying, but the truth is that of all these methods we know very little about which work,” said Björklund.

“In a great number of schools there is a great deal of effort put in but to no effect. But other schools have good mthods. So it makes sense to use the ones which work.”

The Swedish government has set aside 40 million kronor for the National Agency for Education to establish how best to deal with bullying. Björklund reckons that the groundwork for a plan could be ready next year, while new legislation could come into force at the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009.

The Swedish Teachers’ Union welcomed the focus on bullying, but sounded a note of caution.

“It’s good that there will be an assessment of which methods really work against bullying,” said union chairman Eva-Lis Preisz in a press statement.

“But by micromanaging which methods must be used the government risks blocking development in the area,” she added.