Should ‘russ’ busses be axed to make the Norwegian tradition more inclusive? 

The bullying ombudsman in Norway's largest county has said that the russ, where final year high school students party for a month before their exams, is too exclusive and negatively affect pupils' school lives. 

The steering wheel of a bus.
Could russ busses be parked to make the celebrations more inclusive? Pictured is a bus steering wheel. Photo by Zac Cain on Unsplash

Russ is too exclusive and should be changed to include more people, the head of the bullying ombudsman in Viken has said. 

“We receive many inquiries from parents, young people and schools about the consequences of the russ celebration and how it mercilessly affects young people’s everyday lives,” Bodil J. Houg, head of the bullying ombudsman in Viken County, told local paper Drammens Tidende

“We hear about unsafe school environments and exclusion. Unfortunately, parents don’t really want to speak about the issue or take responsibility,” Houg added. 

The celebrations in Norway begin in late April and run until May 17th, before students sit their final school exams. Drinking is a big part of the tradition and those taking part in russ wear personalised jumpsuits. 

Students will typically travel around in special russebusser (russ busses) to and from parties and meetings. Many teenagers will generally spend quite a long time deciding who gets to be on their bus or which bus they want to be on. 

The average russ student spends about 20,000 kroner on the celebration, according to figures from banking group DNB from a few years ago. Due to inflation, this figure has likely gone up since. 

The ombud said that the russ celebrations were affecting pupils’ school lives to the extent that something must be done to make the celebrations more inclusive and less intrusive on students’ school performance. 

Among a list of ten points to make the celebrations less exclusive are moving the celebrations until after exams, dropping uniforms, and potentially axing busses 

However, the ombud added that they would rather make it harder to get a russ bus and educate young people about some of the negative effects russ busses and the desire to be on one could have rather than ban them outright. 

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