6-year-olds hit their teachers

Students in the age group 6 to 13 make up an increasingly larger percentage of the students who are violent towards their teachers in schools in Oslo, Norway.

Last year Oslo teachers teaching first to ninth grade and high school reported 170 cases of violence or threats towards them, almost 40 more than the year before. Students ages 6 to 13 are responsible for most of these cases, reports the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen.

Eight of ten who acted in a threatening manner towards teachers or fellow students were in this age group last year, compared with seven of ten the year before.

“The people engaging in violent acts became increasingly younger, and they can inflict severe injuries on their teachers,” said Knut Myhrer, head ombudsman in Skoleetaten, the Norwegian school system.

“Most of them act in agitation, and they are so young that they don’t understand the consequences of their actions. The older children comprehend that to attack their teachers is not the smartest thing to do,” Myhrer said to Dagsavisen.

But this does not necessarily mean that school children today are more violent than earlier.

“Part of the explanation may be that schools have become better at reporting,” said Per Aahlin, deputy chairman in Utdanningsforbundet.

Mari-Anne Sørlie researcher at Atferdssenteret in Oslo agrees.

”Research indicate that children in Norway have not become more physically or verbally aggressive, even if there is a small increase of restlessness and noise in the class room,” Sørlie said.

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