NORWAY, far north -- The description of the situation on the school bus in Vadsø, is almost like a horror movie, and this is something that children in elementary school have to experience every day.
- The conditions on the bus have been under much criticism. There have been fights, name-calling and outright bullying of students. Children have been beaten bloody, says Ørjan Gundersen to NRK.
He is the father of two of the children who take the school bus in Vadsø. He says that it is under strong doubts that he lets them take it.
- When the bus has been crowded, some students have been pulled out of the bus at stops they were not suppose to get off. Several times our kids have come home crying, they do not want to take the bus, says dad.
Because of the conditions there are few students who live outside Vadsø who choose to take it.
- On a normal day there would be between 15 and 25 students on the bus. In periods it has been so bad that there have been under five. Then parents need to make alternative solutions to bring and get.
Anne Moen is a parent who drives her three children to school. But to get home, the children are depending on the bus.
The kids experience being harassed, bad words being said, they have been beaten and bitten, and thrown food at.
Moen says it is "just as exciting" to come home every day to hear how it went on the bus.
- After Christmas one of my sons received death threats. There has been much violence, fighting and threats, which makes so that the kids are not doing well, and then I don't do good either.
Death threats against the driver
Manager of the bus company, Steinar Johnsen, says they have had several meetings with the elementary school in Vadsø where they have informed about the situation.
- It is an untenable situation both for the children and for the driver, not least, to implement school transport by bus in a safe and proper manner. It can be difficult when it develops into so much conflict and turmoil as it has been on the route.
There have also been situations aimed at drivers, says Johansen.
- Use of language and threats that they will actually kill you if you are not nice. It is clear that we have to follow up on this against the school, and we have done so, says Johnsen.
Vadsø elementary school has tried a number of measures to deal with the problems, including staff to accompany the children on the bus. They also run courses on bus rules, and has inserted its own guards. But the employment situation has meant that not all days are possible, says Technical Supervisor Arne Leikvoll.
- We have also had police on the bus. So we've tried most things, he said.
What NRK as usual neglects to mention, is who the troublemakers are.
As one commentator says:
"This is not just a matter of widespread bullying at a school bus in Finnmark.
It is also the story that illustrates the falsehood by the media. What is it that is lacking in the story? Why do not media say who are behind it and who the victims are? What are the common traits? Why don't the media do anything for people to understand what is happening? Why should people be kept in ignorance?
And do media think that people are so stupid that they think the sober people of Finnmark suddenly have begun to behave like rabid? Is there no limit to how stupid media think people are?"
Vadsø elementary school is one of the county's elementary schools with its 465 pupils. At school we have students from 1 to 7 class, from ca. 20 different nations. We are also the receiving school for newly arrived students in the municipality, the school writes on its website.
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