Legislation is unambiguous. Discrimination, harassment and acts of intimidation must not occur in school.

Through the Child Protection Act that came into effect on April 1, 2006, children and pupils gained stronger protection of their human rights. Discrimination and other acts of intimidation were prohibited, and the requirement to initiate proactive preventative measures was strengthened. On January 1, 2009, a new chapter in the Education Act (chapter 14 a) replaced the section of the Child Protection Act that covered “other acts of discrimination”, and regulations about discrimination were included in the Anti-Discrimination legislation. At this time, The Child Protection Act stopped being valid. When the new Education Act came into effect on July 1, 2011, the sections that cover the school’s work were moved to chapter 6.

The Anti-Discrimination Act
The Anti-Discrimination Act applies as of January 1, 2009, and applies to several areas of society, among others preschool and school. The law prohibits the discrimination of children based on gender, transgender identity and expression, ethnic background, religion or other belief, disability, sexual persuasion or age. The law also implies that preschools and schools must work pro-actively to counteract and prevent acts of intimidation. Violation of the law can be reported to the Equality Ombudsman (DO) who can demand discrimination damages from the person responsible (most often, the municipality) for the preschool or school.

The Education Act chapter 6
Acts of intimidation which aren’t discrimination (that is, that aren’t connected to one of the grounds for discrimination), are also prohibited. As in The Anti-Discrimination Act all preschools and schools must work pro-actively to counteract and prevent acts of intimidation. A child or pupil who has been victimized can report the incident to the Child and School Student Representative (BEO) at the Swedish Schools Inspectorate, who has supervision over the law and can claim damages.

Other Governing Documents

The Curriculum, Lpo 94
“Nobody in the school should be exposed to discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic background, religion or other belief system, transgender identity or expression, sexual persuasion, age or disability, or for any other reason. Such tendencies should be actively combated. Xenophobia and intolerance must be dealt with using knowledge, open discussion and pro-active measures.”

But this is not sufficient in itself. The Curriculum also states that the principal has a particular responsibility for “the school’s program to combat all forms of intimidation, harassment and bullying among pupils and staff.”

The Education Act 1:2§
“Each person active within the school should promote respect for each person’s equal worth and respect for our shared environment. In particular, those active within the school should

1. further gender equality, as well as
2. actively combat all forms of harassment and acts of intimidation such as bullying and racist behavior.”

The principal has particular responsibility for the school’s operations, which is outlined in The Education Act 2 chapter 2§. The principal’s responsibility doesn’t just apply to the teaching, but also to the work environment in the school and contact with parents.

Other Legislation

The Work Environment Act
The Work Environment Act also applies to schools. Pupils are seen as employees, and the school leadership as an employer. This means that the pupils, in the same way as adults in the work force, have the right to a safe and secure workplace. The rules that apply to victimization are outlined in specific regulations from The Swedish Work Environment Authority (AFS 1993:17).

The Swedish Penal Code
Bullying often involves criminal actions that can lead to prosecution according to the Swedish Penal Code. Battery, assault, duress and defamation are a few of the crime classifications that may apply when bullying is reported to the police.

Read more

The Anti-Discrimination Act

The Education Act and the Curriculum

The Work Environment Act

The Swedish Penal Code

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