All schools in the city have a program to prevent bullying and to eliminate it when suspected. Bullying and violence in any form is not accepted in Reykjavík's schools. Parents should always take evidence or information about bullying seriously. Bullying involves a child not being accepted by another child or a group of children. It includes aggressive behaviour. Bullying is a violent act that can have lasting effects on the psyche of the victim. 

Prevention and policy

School policy states that schools should pursue all means possible to secure children´s welfare, to build positive self-images and to develop good communication and social skills. Emphasis is placed on the welfare and progress of every child in a healthy, safe and stimulating environment where learning and playing is based on democratic values. Students feel good where communication is respectful, there are shared responsibilities, caring and responsible behaviour.

What is bullying and how to prevent it?

Bullying involves a person being assaulted repetitively by one or a group by:

  • teasing or gesture
  • verbal attacks and rumours
  • oppression and intimidation of various kinds
  • social rejection or systematic exclusion
  • bullying can also be on the internet and in social media  

Adults have a responsibility to ensure that children and youngsters behave responsibly in their internet communication with others.   

The effects of bullying 

Bullying is a violent act  that can have lasting effects on the psyche of the victim. A child being bullied may quickly develop symptoms such as illness, fear, insecurity, loneliness and may begin to be wary or on guard. Prolonged bullying causes stress which can lead to serious problems such as bad behavior, loss of appetite and depression.

Who can you turn to if your child is being bullied?

Parents must always take any suspicion of bullying seriously. They should also take any information or notices from the school or others about such behaviour seriously. It is necessary to talk to the child about the problem, listen carefully and to show compassion and understanding. Parents must then turn to the supervisory teacher. He should never belittle the concerns of parents but gather the necessary data to shed light on the problem. In cases of confirmed bullying the school makes a plan to deal with the problem in accordance to preventive plan and policy. 

The school takes the initiative to react, organize and coordinate the preventive work. Generally it is best that the victim allows parents og supervisor to adress the problem. However, it is always the adults who are responsible for protecting the child.
According to the procedure it is the supervisory teacher who initiates the preventive work, whether it involves breach of school rules, law, or is related to violence or attendance problems. If the school fails to find a solution within the school parents may seek support at the city´s service centre where a team of experts gives consultation. If  satisfactory results are still not achieved the parents or school may seek assistance at The Department for Education and Youth. 

Questions and / or comments

Héðinn Pétursson is a consultant to parents and schools in cases of bullying at The Department for Education and Youth, telephone 4 11 11 11.

Parents and schools may also request the assistance of a special steering committee which operates under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education when an acceptable solution within a school or municipality is not found, despite repeated attempts by school staff and experts.