25 SES 06 A, Children's right to protection from violence
The right not be exposed to various kind of violence, based on The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) permeates several steering documents for the Swedish education system, namely the: School Act [Skollagen], chapter 1, 5 and 6 (2010:800), Discrimination Act [Diskrimineringslagen] (2008:567), The Swedish Work Environment Act [Arbetsmiljölagen] (1977:1160), The Swedish Penal Code [Brottsbalken] (Ds 1999:36), The Swedish Social Services Act [Socialtjänstlagen] (1980:620), Curriculum [Läroplaner] (Lpfö,11, Lgr-11, Lpf-11), and local documents. Moreover, drawing on UNRC that was incorporated as part of the Swedish legislation in January 2020 children have the right not to be subjected to physical and psychical violence in their everyday life.
Accordingly, this legal Swedish framework has created a legally binding obligation for teachers and educational personal in general to actively work in creating safe educational environments, free from violence. In Sweden the schools’ responsibility to prevent and stop bullying and all kind of discrimination is strongly regulated by both national and international law.
Whereas, statistics of bullying in Sweden appears to have been relatively static in-between 1993-2009 (7-8%) (Swedish National Board of education, 2011:353, p. 40) contemporary studies indicate that the problem of bullying is increasing in Sweden since 2009/10 and the most significant increase can be observed amongst girls in-between 13-15 years of age (The Swedish Public Health Agency (SPHA), 2018, p. 40).
Another recent study based on 112 491 pupils in grade nine and from 1684 schools, piloted by The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (SNCCP) (Frenzel and Westernber, 2018:15), state that four out of ten girls contra five out of ten boys claim that they have been subjected to bullying. The increase of bullying amongst young girls place the spotlights on the gendered dimensions of bullying and encourages more thorough investigation of why these patterns can be noticed today.
At the same time, research (Swearer, Espelage, & Napolitano, 2009; the Swedish National Agency of Education 2011) shows the need to apply more holistic approaches in the formulation and enactment of strategies to protect children from violence.
Drawing on the notion of policy enactment (Ball et. Alt. 2012) , this research sheds light on ways in which national and international legislations against violation are negotiated to protect children from violence. Rather than seeing policies as top down directives they are approached as non-linear and dynamic processes, dependent on context and people’s interpretations. With this as a background, the purpose of the paper is to shed light and discuss the enactment of a Swedish municipal’s anti-bullying model by studying three cases of schools with different level of success in preventing and combating bullying. Particularly gender differences and similarities are acknowledged. Thus, this research aims to answer the following questions:
a) Are there similarities and/or differences in-between the three schools in regard to how they enact the municipal’s anti-bullying plan? If so what kind of similarities and/or differences can be found?
b) Which similarities and/or differences are experienced by the pupils in the selected school with a particular focus on gender?
c) How is the municipal’s anti-bullying plan coded and decoded in the schools’ work with a particular focus on the gendered dimension?
d) How can the different level of success in preventing and combating bullying in the selected schools be explained?
In this research the term bullying involves psychical and/or physical form of repeated violence towards an individual (see Edling, 2016).
The selected municipality in the study has over years collected a very large and virtually unique data base, based on approximately 26,000 student responses, with typical response-rates over 80%, from bi-annual classroom surveys that record students' experiences of bullying. This contribution is based on the data from this municipal survey collected in October 2020. Focusing this research on the gender dimension the schools were selected according to the level of bullying reported by girls in this municipal survey. The municipal survey considered as high levels percentage above of 5 % bullying reported by pupils. Based on this indicator, the following public schools were selected: • School 1: One school have a high frequency of bulling over time • School 2: One school high- and low frequency of bullying oscillates over time • School 3: One school low frequency of bullying over time The methodology used in this research is the following: • A secondary analysis of the municipal survey corresponding the selected three schools included the answer of 426 pupils (206 boys and 220 girls) taking part of the municipal survey in October 2020. • Text analysis of the three selected school plans against bullying current during 2020. • Second analysis of statistical data about parents’ level of education, student’s ethnic background, academic results, school staff about by the Swedish National Agency for Education and the Swedish School Inspectorate under 2020 is even analyses in order to better understand the social, cultural, economic and education environment that characterized the selected schools. Based on an earlier study (Swedish School Inspectorate, 2015) the analysis on the gendered dimension on the enactment of a municipal anti-bullying model will be systematized and introduced focused on the following aspects: 1. The school social and educational context 2. Pupils’ experiences of type of bullying 3. Pupil’s experiences of places for bullying 4. Pupils’ explanations for the reasons for bullying 5. Pupil’s experiences of the school respond to bullying 6. Pupils’ experiences of the school active work against bullying 7. Schools safety plans All data concerning the selected schools is treated confidentiality.
With the purpose to develop knowledge about the gendered dimension of bullying this article introduced and discussed the enactment of a Swedish municipal systematic work against bullying at three selected public schools. The present study cannot show a cause-effect relation between the different social school contexts and a successful enactment of the municipal anti-bullying plan with focused on gender. At the same time, this study shows the complexity to analyze the gender dimension in the enactment of the municipal anti-bullying plan at the school level. Even if the analysis of the municipal survey implanted in October 2020 shows differences in girls and boys bullying experiences in the three selected school, the gender differences are not in all cases consistent and clear in relation to which type of bullying and the level of bullying experienced by the pupils. In addition, this study show that the school yard is a place to particularly to pay attention in anti-bullying work target to both girls and boys. In agree with earlier research (Swearer, Espelage, & Napolitano, 2009; the Swedish National Agency of Education 2011) this study shows the need to apply more holistic approaches related to the municipal policy against bullying in order to efficiently oppose school violence. The comparative analysis of schools shows that a successful enactment of the municipal anti-bullying policies requires specifically target activities to combat all type of discrimination. Based on a the analysis on a large municipal survey that collect children’s voices of school bullying this research can be relevant for other national contexts in which the UNCRC is supposed to be enacted. Then, even if the study is based on a Swedish case study, it contributes to the international research on anti-bullying strategies based children’s’ own experiences.
Ball, S., Maguire, M., & Braun, M. How Schools Do Policy. Policy Enactments in Secondary Schools. (London: Routledge, 2012) Curriculum [Läroplaner] (Lpfö,11, Lgr-11, Lpf-11) Discrimination Act [Diskrimineringslagen] (2008:567). Edling, S. (2016). Demokratidilemman i läraruppdraget : att arbeta för lika villkor. Stockholm: Liber. Frenzel, Anna and Westerberg, Sara (2018:15). Skolundersökningen om brott 2017: Om utsatthet och delaktighet i brott: Rapport 2018:15. Brottsförebyggande rådet [The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention]. School Act [Skollagen] (2010:800). Skolinspektionen (2015) Trygghet Fördjupad analys av Skolenkäten. 2015:2159 retrieved 2020-01-23 from https://www.skolinspektionen.se/globalassets/publikationssok/statistikrapporter/skolenkaten/2014/skolenkaten-fordjupad-analys-trygghet.pdf SPHA [Folkhälsomyndigheten] (2018). Skolbarns hälsovanor i Sverige 2017/18. En grundrapport [School children’s health habits in Sweden 2017/18]. Retrieved 2020-01-23 from https://www.folkhalsomyndigheten.se/publicerat-material/publikationsarkiv/s/skolbarns-halsovanor-i-sverige-201718---grundrapport/. Swearer, & D. L. Espelage (Eds.), Handbook of bullying in schools: An international perspective (pp. 265–276). New York, NY: Routledge. Swedish School Inspectorate [Skolinspektionen] (2017). Skolenkäten 2015-2016. Stockholm: Skolinspektionen. Hamtad fran: https://www.skolinspektionen.se/globalassets/ publikationssok/statistikrapporter/skolenkaten/2015-2016/skolenkaten-2015-2016- elever-arskurs-nio.pdf . The Swedish Work Environment Act [Arbetsmiljölagen] (1977:1160) The Swedish Penal Code [Brottsbalken] (Ds 1999:36). The Swedish Social Services Act [Socialtjänstlagen] (1980:620). The Swedish National Board of education [Skolverket] (2011:353). Utvärdering av metoder mot mobbning. Stockholm: Fritzes.
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