Swedish students report high rates of bullying by teachers

teacherKamratposten, the biggest Swedish children’s magazine, has revealed its latest annual survey with much of the public focus expected around the question of bullying in the classroom. The Local reports that in response to questions as to what students thought of their teacher, almost one in six claimed that they were a bully.

Over 11,000 children were surveyed by the magazine with ages ranging from 8 to 14. The percentage that felt they had been bullied was around 16, higher than the magazine Editor-in-chief Ola Lindholm had expected. Among feedback from the children was: “He said that I was slow, like a tortoise,” and “When I said that I wanted to be a vet she said I’d never become one because I was so bad in class”. Lindholm conceded that the trend was worrisome; pointing out that it was common knowledge that some teachers were out to intimidate students.

Anti-bullying group Friends’ spokesperson Mats Olsson agreed the issue was a common one in Swedish schools. “The most common problem is when teachers favour certain pupils over others. This can make some of them feel bullied and feel bad about school…We always take such matters up with the principle,” Olsson said.

The head of the Swedish Teachers’ Union, Eva-Lis Siren, has welcomed the findings and debate on the issue. “We have ethical guidelines for teachers which we will continue to work with as well as education circles for teachers on bullying,” she claimed.

On a positive note, more than half of the children thought their teacher was funny and two-thirds believed their teacher to be happy with their job.