Know your responsibility - Recognising and intervening in bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence is every adult's duty
One in four girls who responded to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare's 2021 School Health Promotion study felt lonely quite often or constantly, whereas this proportion for boys was one out of ten. The underlying factors of loneliness often are bullying and discrimination.
The Finnish National Agency for Education's videos talk about responsibilities and methods for recognising and preventing bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence, and ways of intervening in them.
It is important for staff in early childhood education and care, schools and educational institutions to encourage children and young people to tell adults about bullying and harmful use of power. Adults have the duty to intervene together in bullying, harassment, discrimination or violence and putting a stop to them.
“Learning to recognise acts of bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence and any changes in a child’s or young person’s behaviour that result from them is important. Early cooperation with the parties' guardians is needed to resolve these situations, says Riina Länsikallio, Senior Specialist at the Finnish National Agency for Education.
Every child and young person has the right to a safe learning environment
Under legislative amendments that entered into force in Finland on 1 August 2022, teachers, principals and school heads have an obligation to notify the guardian of any suspected bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence in the learning environment or on the way to school. This obligation applies to pre-primary and basic education, instruction preparing for basic education, general upper secondary education, vocational education and training, preparatory education for programmes leading to an upper secondary qualification, and basic education and general upper secondary education for adults.
This is why early childhood education and care, schools and vocational institutions should have jointly agreed plans in place for professionals and guardians, which detail the steps they should take when bullying, harassment, discrimination or violence against a child or young person are observed or reported. It is equally important to ensure that these behaviours do not continue.
“In schools and educational institutions, the responsibility lies with the principal, and in early childhood education and care with the director. They must ensure that the agreed practices are followed and that the staff have an opportunity to intervene at the practical level in children’s and young people’s behaviour in a way that is compatible with their age and developmental stage, Länsikallio says.
Expert videos offer methods for promoting safety
Several different experts have been interviewed for the ten-part video series, and children and young people also appear on the videos.
Among other things, the videos discuss interaction skills, prevention of violence, sexual harassment experienced by young people, methods for intervening in discrimination, and cooperation with guardians and authorities in the fight against bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence.
The first part of the video series is titled Know your responsibility - Preventing loneliness and promoting safety in schools, vocational institutions and early childhood education and care. This video is intended for directors of schools, educational institutions and early childhood education and care, principals, teachers and other professionals.
You can watch the videos on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s YouTube channel. All videos have English subtitles. Some of the videos will also be translated into other languages.
The videos will be posted on the website on which the Finnish National Agency for Education is currently working. Its themes are preventing bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence, and you can recognise its content by their logo "No to all violence" and the hashtag #EiKaikelleVäkivallalle. The website will be published in early 2023 as part of the action plans of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Child Strategy.
Finnish National Agency for Education, Riina Länsikallio, Senior Specialist, riina.lansikallio [at] oph.fi, tel. +358 29 533 1088