Mr Palm's speech during the Campaing Against Violence in Schools on 1 March 2011
National Programme Campaign: “For a friendly school, pro positive behaviors”
We all want the best for our children. We want them to become confident, honest citizens, who can provide for themselves and their family. We want them to hold up the values of a democratic society. We want them to be fair and just. We want them to become trusting. We want them to become a respected member of ours and their community.
We can do a lot in our family, for this to happen. We can be good role models, good father, good mothers. Everything that children experience will imprint itself on their memory and character. A child who is lovingly cared for, will most likely be a good parent. A child who is always treated fair, will become a person whom people will ask for advice when they cannot resolve their own conflicts.
Next to the family, the school is the most important aspect of life, that forms our children. Children spend more time in schools or educational institutions than anywhere else outside their homes. So we want our schools to be friendly and welcoming. When children look forward to going to school, they will learn better academically, and they will become more sociable persons that will succeed in life. If children don't like to go to school, for fear of punishment, for fear of failure, or for fear of being pushed around by teachers and bullied by classmates, then these children are not only missing the great opportunity to learn. They are also more likely to adopt the same unwanted behaviors, and they may become unsociable or violent themselves.
So, what we want for our own children, we want for ALL children. And as appointed or elected officials, as decision-makers, as teachers, as parents, as the press and the media, we want schools to be child friendly places, were physical violence, emotional or psychological punishment, or rough bullying between pupils has no place.
The programme that we are going to launch today is exactly about this. Too many children report that they have been subject to bullying by peers, or corporal or psychological punishment. Children say that discrimination and humiliation hurt them deeply and it doesn't go away easily.
All children are at risk by the very fact that they are children. However, some children, because of their social status, gender, ethnic origin, or disability are more vulnerable. The best way to deal with violence against or between children is to stop it before it happens.
Every teacher knows there are difficult situations in the classroom. The programme being launched today is about alternative ways of discipline that is consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The programme shows how to solve conflicts between teachers and students, or between students, without challenging the authority of the teacher, and without humiliating students or using force. The teacher must remain the person whom children can trust.
We suggest putting into place well publicized, safe, confidential and accessible mechanisms for children and their families to report violence. We also suggest to legislate the prohibition of corporal punishment in educational institutions and put in place mechanisms to enforce this.
I talked yesterday to a headmistress of a school in Lezha district. She assured me that her school was a child-friendly place, where pupils like to come and learn. All schools can be like this.
I wish the organizers all success for this campaign.