Trouble in School: Law, Policy and the Dynamics of Everyday Life at School
Summary, in English
Abstract/Results. The paper discusses the results of three different studies. A study of 717 ninth grade students in eight schools located in different socio-economic environments show that students have a low degree of trust in dispute settlement forms available at school. When involved in conflicts or degrading treatment at school they avoid turning to the school for help. Students give themselves a high score for following rules at school but give a much lower score to their classmates’ everyday behavior at school. Interviews with teachers and headmasters show a critical suspicion towards School Inspectorate’s ability to solve conflicts at school. An analysis of 350 cases decided by School Inspectorate/BEO show that many parents solve a worrisome situation at school by changing schools for their child. School administrators often solve a conflict by demanding a psychiatric evaluation of the child involved or by pointing to a need for more resources. School administrators in schools with many problems experience school inspections as annoying. The project has shown that there is a strong and consequent picture of an on-going process within Swedish schools of loss of legitimacy and authority within the school system. Even though the concept of rights of the student has forced itself into the everyday life of school, the increase in recourse to legal processes beyond those available at school has produced unintended consequences.