OSLO, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Norwegian government said Wednesday it is on the way to legislate zero tolerance towards bullying in the Nordic country's schools.
By proposing a bill that will be presented to parliament on Friday, the government would like to give schools clearer and stricter rules for acting in case of child bullying and strengthen the rights of children and their parents, according to a statement from the Ministry of Education and Research.
"Despite numerous measures and promotions in the past 20 years, the number of students who report that they are being bullied remained high. There are still students who daily experience bullying or other type of offense. It cannot go on like that," said Minister of Education and Research Torbjorn Roe Isaksen.
The bill, which should present an effective instrument to combat bullying and poor school environment, includes both new rules and change of the existing ones, the government said.
"In this way, the government states clearly that bullying is not allowed to happen. It will help to report it and the regulations shall work for students," Roe Isaksen said.
The regulations imply that schools should work on prevention and show rapid and effective action in individual cases.
"In case schools do not react quickly and correctly, municipalities might be fined," Roe Isaksen said.
The ministry will also introduce a new activity obligation for schools. Everyone working at school shall follow up, alert and intervene in cases of bullying and offence.
The Norwegian government also proposes stricter duty to act when the perpetrator is an adult. Student survey shows that nearly 2 percent of students say they have been bullied by adults.
The new rules require that a school that works on prevent bullying should make a plan for the way these measures are to be implemented. The minister emphasized that schools must also document their work.
Roe Isaksen said the current complaints procedure does not work well enough and therefore proposed a new scheme which will make it easier and faster to get help.
"We strengthen counties' government agency, so that we can get a better safety network to reveal cases where schools do not help well or fast enough," he said.
The minister added that it is an advantage that the agency is located close to students and look at the matter in conjunction with other municipal tasks, such as health and child welfare.
Students and parents will also be able to appeal the agency's decision and the directorate for education and training is proposed to treat these complaints.
"Both students and parents must know what they can expect from their school and how they can take the matter further if they believe that the school does not meet its obligation," the minister said.