Swedish school in million kronor bullying lawsuit

A school in western Sweden has been sued for almost a million kronor ($160,000) by four families who claim that not enough has been done to help bullied children.

“I have never before seen a school so unwilling to help when a child feels vulnerable,” one of the parents Peter Axelsson told Sveriges Radio (SR).

The Casa dei Bambini Monterssori school, which is independently run by a board of trustees, has been accused of both ignoring the indications that bullying was taking place, but also to have actively worked against parents and students trying to resolve the situation.

Usually bullying cases are handled between the Child-and-Student Ombudsman (Barn- och elevombudet-BEO) and the management of the school, in this case the trustees.

The BEO has investigated the cases at the school and has directed criticism in one of them, but dismissed the others as they occurred too long ago. The parents thus decided to act to file a private lawsuit against the school.

According to the parents’ lawyer the case is extraordinary as it involves a school, which should be concerned with its reputation and four students who feel they have been treated appallingly for a long period of time, alleging that they received no help at all from the school.

“If you look at the lawsuit you see that the children have been subjected to grave violations over a long period of time. It would be reasonable to expect the school to have acted upon it. But they did nothing,” lawyer Jörgen Frisk told SR.

Peter Axelsson’s daughter attended the school in 2006.

“The more we demanded that they do something about it, the more they pushed the blame over to her. She felt terrible, lost weight, couldn’t sleep and had constant headaches,” he told SR.

At the school they don’t agree that they fail to act on bullying.

“Generally, I think that we work very much with these issues at the school. We think that it is vital and we welcome the examination of these cases,” said the principal Marie Rydberg to SR.

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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