Norwegian teachers to be allowed to intervene physically against students

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norwegian teachers to be allowed to intervene physically against students
The government wants clearer guidelines on when teachers in Norway can use physical intervention. Pictured is a classroom full of pupils. Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

The Norwegian government wants to implement clearer guidelines on when teachers can use physical intervention to prevent injuries to pupils.


Minister of Education, Tonje Brenna, wants to give the teachers the right to intervene physically to prevent students from injuring other pupils or causing significant damage.

"Norwegian schools must be a place where children and young people can develop in a safe community. The teachers in the classroom must be confident in what room for action they have when situations arise where students are in danger of harming themselves or others," Brenna said in a government statement.

However, there will be strict guidelines in place for the use of force, such as taking steps to present physical confrontation as well as the documentation and reporting of when force is used by a teacher.

Teachers will also be required to be as gentle as possible and for the use of force to be as short-lived as possible. Any physical intervention in a situation cannot be punitive, either.

"For example, a teacher can hold pupils to break up a fight, but the grip must not be stronger or last longer than is necessary to prevent injury. Any form of physical force towards children that has the character of punishment is punishable, writes the government," the government writes in its proposal.

Currently, there are no rules in the Education Act stipulating when a school employee can physically intervene in a situation, which creates uncertainty when a teacher intervenes.


"Clearer rules will not in themselves solve the problems with disruptive behaviour in school. But the rules will be one part of the solution, in that it strengthens the legal certainty of pupils and staff in situations where it is necessary to intervene physically," Brenna said.

"Intervening physically should be the last resort, and I don't think any teacher wants to get into such situations. Now schools must work even more systematically with prevention," She added.

If physical intervention is needed, the headteacher and the child's parents will be notified – according to the proposal. Should the proposal, which has been sent for consultation, be adopted by parliament, it will enter into law from August 1st 2024.


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