Swedish teen struck for using mobile in class

A schoolteacher in Arvika in central Sweden has been convicted of assault after striking a student talking on her mobile phone during class.

Swedish teen struck for using mobile in class

The fifteen-year-old girl was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and was speaking into her headset.

When questioned, she claimed that she didn’t hear the teacher mention mobile phones until he hit her on the shoulder.

According to local paper Nya Wermlands-Tidningen (NWT), the incident left the girl with a large bruise that kept smarting for a week. The redness didn’t subside until two days after the encounter.

The teacher’s side of the story is different, however.

He claimed to have asked the girl to hang up her phone, and when he saw her sitting hunched over he thought she was upset. When he went over to check if she was OK, he tripped and stumbled into her, he said.

According to NWT, other students who were sitting nearby said that they heard a commotion and saw the girl get upset and shocked by what happened.

They stayed after class and confronted the teacher, who claimed to have been ‘goofing around’. He then called the girl and apologised.

The rules on mobile phone usage during school hours in Sweden are not regulated in the education statutes. Instead it is up to schools to make their own rules.

Guidelines from the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) from 2007 state that students shouldn’t be allowed any object that may disturb the class.

A mobile phone that is turned off does not in itself constitute a disturbance but if the student is texting, taking photographs, surfing the net or doing anything else that may disturb the teacher or the other students it is grounds for removing the phone from the student.

However, teachers are not allowed to frisk students, and can’t remove objects that students are wearing.

If a student has a phone or an mp3-player in his or her pocket, the teacher has to ask the student to hand it over.

One way to get around it is to ask the students for any potentially disturbing objects prior to the beginning of class.

According to Maria Lönn of the Agency, questions regarding cell phones crop up every now and then. The guidelines from 2007 are getting outdated and could do with an update.

“Schools are supposed to be able to ensure peace and quiet for students during class, but it is understandable that it isn’t always that easy knowing how to go about it when it isn’t regulated in the statutes,” she said to The Local.

The Arvika teacher claimed to have warned the class that any mobile phones found in use would be confiscated.

However, according to NWT, the district court ruled that after looking at photographic evidence there was no mistaking that the girl had suffered pain.

No one had seen the teacher trip and stumble.

The teacher was sentenced to pay a fine, as well as 5,000 kronor ($799) in damages to the girl and 500 kronor compensation for pain and suffering.

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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