Schoolboy compensated for racial bullying

A boy in western Sweden is to be compensated after enduring years of racially-motivated bullying, Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO) has ruled.

Over a period of several years, the boy was bullied by fellow students and called a number of derogatory names, including “negro”, “nigger” and “nigger bastard”, on account of his ethnic background.

The bullying began in elementary school and continued into middle school and the boy’s predicament was well-known by nearly all of the teachers and staff employed at the school.

The boy’s parents first reported the incident to the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) in 2007, which turned the case over to the ombudsman.

In their initial complaint, the boy’s parents admit that their son often got into disagreements with fellow students but that school officials were unwilling to participate in efforts by the parents to help their son improve his behavior.

The parents also explained that some teachers told the boy he brought the insults on himself, including one incident in which his life had been threatened.

“The school shows no regard and little understanding for the insults he has been subjected to and how down he feels about being called a nigger bastard on a daily basis,” the parents wrote in their complaint.

“Our son doesn’t have the option of feeling safe when school personnel don’t recognize the insults he’s long been subjected to and we’re worried about both is mental health and his continued presence in school.”

Following an investigation, the ombudsman concluded that the municipality in which the school is located had broken several chapters in Sweden’s law forbidding the discrimination and other insulting behaviour of children and students.

Through a negotiated a settlement with the municipality, the boy is set to receive 75,000 kronor ($10,800) in compensation.

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