In one way writing this makes me frustrated, because this post will most likely be written and forgotten some days later by most people. I hope so much that that isn`t the case, though, because what I`m about to say is so significant and it can`t be said enough.
Some days ago an article was published in a Norwegian newspaper. The title is “It took three years for the school to acknowledge that Mia was bullied”. The two words “three years” got to me, because it shouldn`t have taken that long, but it did. And that`s one of many problems.
Mia Næss committed suicide when she was 12 years old. You can say whatever you want to about suicide, but anyone commiting suicide is a serious incident as it is, but it`s heartbreaking to think that a child – because yes, she was a child – decided to do something so dramatic and tragic. Unfortunately bullying ends up making some people feel like that`s a solution or a road to go down. It breaks my heart to think that a 12-year-old girl ended up choosing that road.
To break it up for you guys: Mia committed suicide in 2015. In2016, the county governor concluded that the school had broken the education act (laws) and made mistakes in the Mia case. The school should have seen the seriousness in Masa’s situation in the class, made individual decisions, and put in action already in fourth grade. It did not happen as the school was imposed. The year, the police in Oppegård investigated the case and concluded a breach of the law. They gave the municipality a fine of 60,000 kroner (Norwegian currency). The school, represented by a councilman Lars Henrik Bøhler, rejected that they had done something wrong. On national TV he said last year that it`s difficult to say that the school has done something that deserves criticism. He also said then that the school is working on improving the routines and that they have more measures today. But this summer, the situation got turned around and the municipality admitted something worth noticing:
“We are sorry that Mia Næss was subjected to bullying, despite the fact that measures were conducted. We regret that no individual decisions was taken and that the municipality did not follow the education act at the points pointed out in the county governor’s report. “
I understand that it`s very tough and frustrating for the parents to be in a situation like this. Waiting three years for a school to admit that their daughter, who commited suicide, was bullied and that they didn`t do enough at all to help her, must have been difficult. Their pain is unexplainable and I can`t imagine what it must have been like.
For me, one of the frustrating things about this is that I`ve heard this all before. It`s not the first time a school doesn`t realise the seriousness in a situation like this and it`s not the first time that a school doesn`t understand the consequences of their behaviour. I`m tired of hearing such “political correct answers”, because that`s what it sounds like to me. I can`t remember if I`ve ever read about a school which has encountered something like this and been willing to admit their mistakes from day one and think “maybe we did go wrong or maybe we didn`t do enough”. Obviously something is being done wrong, as more and more young people keep struggling with their mental health and the statistics for suicide keep increasing year by year. Even many of those who are able to cope with it in an handable way, face the consequences years later. Consequences that are shaped as scars and wounds that could hurt for years. An genuine apology and some sincere understanding wouldn`t hurt anyone.
I really hope things change soon and that the schools begin to face some real consequences when they break the rules. And honestly; the schools being able to stop bullying is one thing. I and many young people out there aren`t asking for too much. We`re asking for some kindness, we want someone to see us for who we are, we want someone to listen closely to what we want to say. Sad how something so easy have become so difficult to do.