As expected, school bullying became the main topic of the parliamentary question time.
The topic has been discussed after the city of Vantaa reported a suspected violence by sixth-graders, in which one student was injured.
Sofia Vikman (Kok) was clearly sensitized when asked what the government’s message is to those parents whose children are afraid to go to school.
- This is something we have in common, education providers, teachers and school adults have a statutory responsibility to ensure that the right to a safe day at school is realized.
Every single case of serious violence or bullying means that we as a society have failed to safeguard these fundamental rights, said Minister of Education Li Andersson (left).
Jenna Simula (ps) asked Minister of Education Andersson why the government did not accept the openings made, such as that the bully should change schools.
- Finnish legislation guarantees everyone's right to education in their own local school.
The school cannot force a pupil to change schools against the will of the guardian, nor are experts in favor of such measures, as bullying is usually a much more common phenomenon, involving many students than just one and many bullies have themselves been bullied, Andersson replied.
Jenna Simula (ps) wondered why a bully could not be forced to change schools.
Simula, like the other representatives, did not wear a mask in the hall.
According to Simula, there is a health reason in the background and he has a medical certificate. Photo: Joonas Salo / IS
Simula linked the increase in foreign-speaking students to cases of “wild growth” bullying.
Andersson said he was alienating thinking where bullying is associated with certain groups.
- Instead, bullying is known to be associated with discrimination and racism.
The chairman of Basic Finns, Jussi Halla-aho, asked whether it was planned to add concrete means for teachers to deal with disturbances.
- What can already be done involves removing the pupil from the classroom, ordering a post-session and sending him or her home; in extreme cases, temporary separation is also possible in primary education.
If we talk about very serious cases, criminal liability or liability for damages can also come into play, Andersson commented.
Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson (r) said the beating was a crime.
- Even if the perpetrator is under the age of 15, he or she may be liable for damages.
Parents can also be liable for damages if their children commit a criminal offense.
Vikman and Sari Sarkomaa (Kok) were concerned that student care services, such as school psychologists and curators, are being transferred to “the mercy of provincial social organizations” as part of the social reform.
Sofia Vikman (Kok) started a bullying discussion during Question Time, which lasted almost 45 minutes. Photo: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva
Minister of Family and Basic Services Krista Kiuru (sd) assured that this will not be done, but that services will remain in schools and educational institutions, regardless of which organization acts as the employer.
According to Andersson, the government is already implementing the proposals of the previous government's expert report.
- A project to develop children's socio-emotional skills in early childhood education has already started, the National Board of Education is publishing a guide to preventing school bullying and has invested in in-service training for teaching staff.
Andersson also said the government has launched more than 300 million Right to Learn projects aimed at strengthening quality and equality in both early childhood education and basic education.
- We also provide financial resources to training providers, among other things, for the implementation of preventive action models.
I don’t think it’s wise for the government to say how all the different municipalities and schools should work, I trust schools to know if there is a need for a psychiatric nurse, more special teachers, youth workers or maybe school grandmothers or dangers, Andersson mentioned.