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Swedish pupils speak out on bully teachers

Christine Demsteader · 2 Oct 2009, 13:47

Published: 02 Oct 2009 13:47 GMT+02:00

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The magazine quizzed over 11,000 children between the ages of 8 and 14. The majority of children liked their teacher or liked them most of the time. But it also revealed some negative aspects of classroom behaviour - with one in six students saying they felt they had been bullied by their teacher.

"He said that I was slow, like a tortoise," was one comment from an 8-year-old.

”When I said that I wanted to be a vet she said I'd never become one because I was so bad in class, " an 11-year-old added.

The figures are worrying but not surprising, Kamratpostens editor-in-chief Ola Lindholm said.

”I would have hoped that the figures would have been lower - maybe 10-11 percent," he added.

"But it is a well known fact that there are teachers out there that violate the integrity of their pupils."

Lecturer Mats Olsson from the anti-bullying organisation Friends says it is a common issue in Swedish schools today.

"We see and hear about this when we visit schools," he told The Local on Friday.

"The most common problem is when teachers favour certain pupils over others. This can make some of them feel bullied and feel bad about school."

"We always take such matters up with the principle," Olsson added.

The study also revealed that 30 percent of children believe that teachers treat boys and girls differently. Both sexes stated that girls received more positive attention.

"There are different rules in the classroom when it comes to boys and girls, and what is the norm when it comes to their behaviour," Olsson says.

Mats Olsson called for a broader debate to bring focus on the issue.

Story continues below…

"We want to see more discussion about it from the teacher organisations to the school board level and among students."

Eva-Lis Sirén, chair of the Swedish Teachers' Union that she would welcome the debate.

"We have ethical guidelines for teachers which we will continue to work with as well as education circles for teachers on bullying," she told The Local.

The survey also found 51 percent of kids say their teacher is funny, 16 percent think they are embarrassing and 67 percent believe that their teacher is happy in their work.

Christine Demsteader (christine.demsteader@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:43 October 2, 2009 by Kaethar
Statistics like these are no good. They need to do a qualitative study to find out what the children's complaints are. Because what kids define as "bullying" is completely subjective. For example, a child who is allowed to be noisy at home might think they are being bullied at school when they are repeatedly told to be quiet in class.
17:16 October 2, 2009 by Nemesis
In school, pupils and teachers bully. It is a major problem.

All bullying does is destroy childhood.

Bullying by both pupils and teachers needs to be stamped out.
18:25 October 2, 2009 by EtoileBrilliant
It reminds me of an interview I read of Michael O'Leary of Ryanair:

"Was the education doled out with a good stiff slap?" he was asked. "Yes. Did we suffer great emotional trauma? No."

By the way, please for crying out loud don't write an article about education and use the world "principle" when you mean "principal". All it means is that you weren't bullied enough by your English teacher!
19:12 October 2, 2009 by hjoian
i like the above post!! Being bullied is one thing,correcting bad behaviour another. Regular thrashings were common place ,be it with a cane/belt/shoe,occasionaly an open fist. Maybe if troublesome little f**ks like those who raped that young girl had a beating occasionally to correct their bad behaviour,then Swedes would grow up to be more balanced people. No offence meant,but bound to upset someone!
19:47 October 2, 2009 by gnhundu

Could not agree more!!!
20:28 October 2, 2009 by spy
I wonder what they would say to boarding at 7 years old, cold showers and caning? Ah the good old days. . .

Good education is open to everyone, just like the Ritz.
20:55 October 2, 2009 by wxman
Why was this survey even conducted?? Who cares what they think? They simply need to go to school, behave and learn.
21:23 October 2, 2009 by Micheal
Teachers should be punished for this they dont have any right to cause such problem to student who are there to study,they should be given warning and if that fails they must go under suspension.
23:16 October 2, 2009 by Renfeh Hguh
This is what you get from breeding a society of pussies.
02:36 October 3, 2009 by RoyceD
There are no perfect teachers, and we shouldn't demand that of them. The schooling system is a joke. Why do we expect 1 adult to be able to educate 30+ adolescents and for each student to receive the same education? It is just not possible with that system.

If you think children should be free from bullying think about the one place you got bullied most growing up.... school. The education system was fine when qualifying to become a teacher ment being a nun or a priest. That worked great. But today is a different time, and there is no reason we can not adapt. Personally I would love to see more teachers per child, and more resources available equally to all student, not just ones who live in good neighbourhoods. This could be done with a comprimise between more home schooling via the internet and classroom work like today but on a smaller group level.

The school system doesn't need to be stuck in the middle ages for ever.
07:53 October 3, 2009 by LazyDog
LOL i have to agree with Renfeh Hguh.
13:54 October 3, 2009 by Jimk
All I want to say is that it always existed...

I left school about almost 10 years now and feel I have quite a mature and objective opinion about it... I fortunatly had to chance to make my path and get a decent lifestyle....

Teachers! Bully may sometime be a strong word, but the abuses of authority you make on daily basis is totally not acceptable even though we are delegating you responsibility of our children education...

I won't say I'm traumatised by school, or anything... but at least I know I will be triple carefull where I'll put my kids... Does not necesseraly refer to "lower level" school... It includes the said "Best school" as well.
14:06 October 3, 2009 by PolarBearKiit
From my own personal experience this is true!

Seriously it dosent matter if your an immigrant or not .Going to an international school or not.A teacher i had would not speak english even though it was his job and whenever you asked him to take it in english he maybe took a setence or so and when you got angry that you couldent do the test or understand the work he actually laughed.

It's terrible to be fair.
15:51 October 3, 2009 by sebseb
"This is what you get from breeding a society of pussies. "

Agree, muich better the English and American way where laws allow beating up kid.
16:21 October 3, 2009 by Puffin
Bullying by staff can be a serious problem at some schools - the problem is that there is a wall of silence from the schools and kommuns where this is a problem - parents often end up moving their child instead.

My autistic daughter was physically bullied by a teacher at her school - the kommun repeatedly refused to investigate our complaints to find out what was going on. Nobody seemed to know or care what the law said. We reported the school to Skolinspektion - the school lied and denied that we had asked them to investigate - we even had an independent witness who had witnessed our child being physically abused - so then after an administrative handläggnings time of 2 years - the School inspectors came to the conclusion that it was one word against another - so basically the school got away with it.
10:40 October 4, 2009 by spy

British law does not allow 'beating up a kid' but it does allow smacking as long as it does not cause visible bruises, grazes, scratches, swelling or cuts.
17:33 October 4, 2009 by SGJamie
I agree with hjoian. The kids here seem to think they can do whatever they want and if a teacher corrects their misbehaviors, that teacher is being "mean." This is why the school system NEEDS to figure it out and come up with a solid concrete discipline system (with both rules and CONSEQUENCES) so teachers can have a universal way to deal with and correct bad behavior and the kids know their teachers aren't just bullying them.... that they have to face the consequences of their actions.

Sebseb.... ummmm, maybe in some part of the US they still hit kids on the bottom, but not where I come from in Ohio. It's not any form of correcting bad behavior I believe in. So, I hope no one who reads this thinks that Americans beat their kids in school.... that is punnishable by loss of teaching license and jail time.
09:29 October 5, 2009 by missscarlet
I totaly think it really depends on where the school is and the area. Just a couple of weeks ago a friend of ours who is a teacher was working in an area with a lot of non Swedish kids going there. One of the little brats took his basketball and threw it at and hit the teacher in the face. She had ask him to stop playing with the ball durning the class and work on the class work given to them. In the end she had to leave with a bloody face and broken eye glasses from this incident .This kid is still back in the school and doing whatever he likes. Of course it is no wonder there is a shortage of teachers in these schools and finding ones who can or will put up with this kind of abuse from the kids. School is just getting started and some teachers are already getting burned out and streesed from this kind of crap allowed in the schools. There appears to be no disapline at home so what would you expect from the kids?
16:21 October 5, 2009 by rumcajs
Correcting bad behaviour is one thing, but if a teacher calls my son "slow" just like that (like said by one of the kids), they'd have a very difficult talk with pappa.
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