Erik Strand, November 10 2014
Stian Rognmo Åsheim is a 16 years old boy who is one of many youth and children in Norway who have been bullied at school. The newspaper Avisa Nordland published an article about his story on November 02 2014.
Stian lost one and a half year at school due to bullying. He is now working, although he says that he would prefer attending school. Narvik municipality has been fined 40 000 kroner for not taking action to stop the bullying.
Both Stian’s parents are teachers in Narvik municipality and they admit that it was a tough decision to report their own employer. To the newspaper, they say that they reported the principal at Framnes High School and two other high-ranking civil servants in Narvik.
– Two years earlier, before Christmas when Stian was in the eighth grade, the bullying started. The headmaster did not agree that Stian was bullied. He called it a “conflict among pupils” and said that we had to view what he went through as a hardening of Stian that would prepare him for adult life.
The parents strongly disagreed with the headmaster and considered that he did not handle what they viewed as an indisputable case of bullying. They say that the headmaster made a decision in the case only 16 months after the bullying started. The education law states that a decision shall be made immediately in such cases. After one year, Fylkesmannen (the state’s representative in the county) became involved in the case. Another year passed before the headmaster admitted that Stian had been bullied.
When it became clear that Narvik municipality could not offer Stian decent school conditions, Fylkesmannen decided that the two classes for Stian’s age group at Framnes should be divided into three classes before the tenth and final school year. His parents wished that fellow pupils and their parents were informed about the background for that decision, the illegal acts that their son had suffered from. Narvik municipality refused to do so.
The parents say that the result was that Stian during the following summer got several negative remarks from other pupils, both face to face, by SMS and on Facebook. He was accused of being the cause of the splitting of the classes. As a result, he was not able to start school in his tenth grade.
Fylkesmannen found the case serious and started investigating the municipality. The conclusion was that Narvik municipality had broken the law. Fylkesmannen found the case so serious that Fylkesmannen personally (Hill Marta Solberg, a former member of government) came to inform the school leadership about Fylkesmannen’s conclusions.
The parents say to the newspaper that the municipality several times reported them to the CPS. They experienced the CPS as acting professionally in this case – and each time the municipality reported the parents to the CPS, the CPS closed the case after short time. The parents find it scary that the municipality lawyer on one occasion called the CPS and tried to make them changing their decision to close the case.