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EDUCATION

Principal stopped kids from getting marks that were ‘too low’

The principal of a school in western Sweden is under investigation for unilaterally scrapping the marks given to a class of eighth graders because they were too low in comparison to other schools in the area.

Principal stopped kids from getting marks that were 'too low'

In the wake of the principal’s move, the students at the school, located in Uddevalla in western Sweden, still haven’t received their final marks for the autumn term in home economics, which left teachers fuming.

“The teacher has been prohibited from setting grades and therefore obstructed in exercising his authority,” Annica Levander of Sweden’s National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas riksförbund) told the local Bohusläningen newspaper.

“This compromises fairness for students and the ability of teachers to do their jobs.”

According to Levander, the issue of low grades was apparent far earlier in the term, but the principal chose not to intervene.

By choosing only to act at the end of the term and by simply overruling the teachers’ assessment, the principal has interfered with the teacher’s authority.

“He stepped on the brakes too late,” Levander said.

The teachers union has now reported the incident to the Swedish School’s Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) and the Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen).

The Swedish School’s Inspectorate hasn’t begun a formal investigation yet, as it is waiting for official documentation, but project manager Elisabeth Porath Sjöö explained there are limits on principals’ ability to affect grading decisions.

“A principal can only get involved in the grading process if there are two teachers for a class who aren’t in agreement,” she told the paper.

But, Dennis Reinhold, head of school operations at the municipality, thinks the principal acted responsibly, however.

“Based on the information I have received, I believe he made the right decision. But this is a unique situation,” he told the paper.

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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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