High school pupils on strike over drunk teacher

Pupils at a school in southern Norway have gone on strike in protest against a teacher who allegedly turned up drunk in the classroom, and their school’s failure to take the problem seriously.

Around half the students at Rjukan high school stayed at home on the first school day of the new year, local newspaper Telemarksavisa reports.

In a letter to the principal, student council leader Sandra Yeomans explained that the one-day strike stemmed from a recent incident in which a teacher had appeared in the classroom drunk and “in no condition to teach”.

She later refers to “situations where this has happened,” suggesting the incident was not a one-off.

“The students’ frustration has mounted over the last six months. Our attempts to discuss the pupils’ situation with the school leadership have been ignored,” she wrote.

Pupils are hoping the strike will lead to greater openness and a less authoritarian approach from school leaders.

“We understand that personnel issues are not part of the pupils’ brief, but we feel we have a right to know what is happening with our school.”

Although the pupils have been angry for some time, principal Olav Tov Røysland denied that the problems derived from alcohol abuse.

“I’m going to try now to set up a meeting with the student council so that we can discuss this, because it’s my view that there’s no substance to these allegations,” he told Telemarksavisa.

This is not the first time staff at Rjukan high school have come under fire from students. Two teachers faced disciplinary action after a school trip to Portugal in 2007. The week-long break was described by pupils as nightmarish, as the teachers charged with watching over them spent much of the time either drunk or inexplicably absent.

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Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord

The Norwegian Public Roads Administration will need to clear up more than 1,000 trucks worth of stones and rubble it left near the stunning UNESCO world heritage listed Nærøyfjord.

Norwegian road authority in hot water for dumping rocks near UNESCO-listed fjord
Nærøyfjorden near to where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration left behind more than 11,000 cubic metres of rocks. Photo by Arian Zwegers on Flickr.

Fly-tipping and rubbish dumping are typically associated with rogue tradespeople and cowboy builders, but it’s the Norwegian Public Roads Administration that is being asked to clear some 11,250 cubic metres of rocks it left near a UNESCO listed beauty spot.

The breathtaking Nærøyfjord in Aurland municipality, south-western Norway, is a landscape conservation area meaning its protected and, therefore, the rubble shouldn’t have been left there.

“This is a blister. We will clean up after ourselves,” Stig Berg Thomassen, project manager for the road authority, told NRK.

The rocks were left behind following a project to upgrade the nearby Gudvanga tunnel.

Thomassen said the mess was left in the conservation area because it wasn’t clearly marked as off-limits.

Nærøyfjorden has been listed as a landscape conservation area since 2002, and the site was added to the UNESCO world heritage list a few years later in 2005.

READ ALSO: You can now get married at this famous Norwegian beauty spot

The municipality in Aurland has given the road authority until December 17th to clear the mess. The mayor for the municipality said the road authority would begin to clear up the remnants of its building project as soon as possible.

The stones won’t be going far, though and will only be moved around 50 to 100 metres along the road to where the conservation area ends.

Project manager Thomassen has admitted that the situation could have been avoided with better planning.

“Yes, we should have probably have done that (prepared better). The situation is as it is, so we just have to clean up. It won’t take long to move the rocks. The Stones will only be transported 50 to 100 meters,” he confessed.