Parents asked for challenges for clever son – were reported to the CPS
Erik Strand, November 10 2014
When the TV channel TV2 broadcasted the program “Vårt lille land” on a Sunday in March 2014, a story from Skodje in Møre og Romsdal was one of three stories in the program. The story is also the topic of this article in the newspaper Sunnmørsposten.
In the program, Bente Fremmerlid, mother of the ten years old boy Are, told what happened when she and the boy’s father asked the school to give their son a more challenging mathematics education.
Are is clever at school, especially in mathematics, and felt the mathematics lessons as very boring. One day when Are was home from school during his third grade due to being ill, his mother asked if he wanted to draw. He answered that he preferred to do mathematics. Instead of practicing multiplication by 2, as was the homework, he and his mother practiced multiplying with 5. Are already knew multiplying with 2. They also did some exercises from his textbook.
When back to school, Are showed his homework to the teacher. According to Bente Fremmerlid, the teacher reacted by criticising Are and even erasing parts of his homework. Allegedly, this was not the first time that the teacher erased parts of the homework.
Bente Fremmerlid is herself a teacher in a neighbouring municipality. The parents decided to send an e-mail to the municipality and ask for teaching fitted for their son. The Norwegian education law states that the education shall be fitted to the pupil’s abilities. In this case, it seems that an easy and cheap measure to give the boy a more fitted teaching would be ending erasing of his homework.
Fremmerlid also contacted professional pedagogues and experienced that she got support. After Siv Måseidvåg Gamlem, who has recently taken a doctoral degree in education science, learnt about the case, she wrote a chronicle about the case in the Newspaper Dagsavisen. Hadia Tajik, who at that time was Minister of Education, replied to the chronicle and wrote that the school was wrong and the mother right. Even children who are skilled in the subjects have a right to being followed up in a way fit for their level.
According to Fremmerlid, this story did not end with the e-mail to the school. The headmaster reported the parents to the CPS.
– The reason the school gave was that the school’s leadership and employees for a long time had been concerned about what was described as a “high conflict level” – in relations with both the school and the local community.
With the notification of concern from the headmaster, the CPS chose to conduct an involuntary examination. Fremmerlid describes the three months during which the CPS conducted this examination as a Hell.
– They scrutinised everything, from Are’s motoric skills and hygiene, to our somatic and mental health conditions. The CPS also asked our doctors if there were other properties of the parents as care persons that the CPS should have knowledge of – on the background of the notification from the headmaster.
During this examination, the parents ask for a meeting with the headmaster. After some months, they get to meet the headmaster, who admits that the “high conflict level” relates to their demand for a more challenging teaching.
According to TV2, the result of the examination was that the CPS closed the case.