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EDUCATION

Violence and lack of funds plague school principals

Every fifth school principal in Sweden has been subjected to threats or violence, and many feel that they can’t do their jobs well due to insufficient resources.

One in ten principals also reports not feeling safe in his or her job, reports the Swedish Association of School Principals and Directors of Education.

More than half of the respondents to the survey reported needing to regularly work overtime in order to keep up, and several said they lacked the resources required to do a good job.

“Principals are responsible for ensuring that all students learn to read, write, and perform maths, but there aren’t always enough resources at schools to do that. For example, it’s not possible to hire as many teachers as needed so that students who need special help can receive it,” said Lars Flodin, head of the labour association.

The leadership which is often seen as so important in private companies isn’t prioritized by municipalities and the governing boards of independent schools, which are ultimately responsible for the schools, according to the association.

“It’s regrettable that the work environment is as bad as it is; if you want to make an effort to help Swedish schools, then you’ve absolutely got to improve the employment situation for principals,” said Flodin.

Flodin said heads of schools have all the responsibility but that the study shows they often don’t have enough resources to do their jobs.

“For principals it means that they can’t fulfill their curriculum, the school law, and the existing demands and at the end of the day to affects individual students,” he said.

HEALTH

Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime 

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