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Finland to introduce new laws to ban bullying at daycare

The practice has already been deemed illegal at primary, upper secondary and vocational schools.

Päiväkotilapset leikkivät duploilla.
Image: Emilia Malin / Yle

Government plans to introduce new legislation next autumn that would make bullying at kindergarten illegal. The government has rolled out a bill that will in future obligate daycare staff to nip bullying in the bud wherever they see it.

“Kindergarten should be a safe environment for children, where no one is bullied and where no one should learn to bully. Personnel have an indisputable duty to prevent disruption and bullying and to intervene,” Education Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen said in a statement on Thursday.

However, the draft legislation does not address the question of whether the bully or the individual who does not intervene to stop it will face a penalty. Kindergartens and early childhood education centres are subject to oversight by an official body that also fields complaints.

Finland already has legislation that prohibits bullying at primary, upper secondary and vocational schools. Government is therefore expanding the regulation to cover daycare centres by rewriting existing early childhood education legislation.

The bill must still come before MPs, and it is expected to come into force during the autumn. Four years ago, responsibility for regulating kindergartens was transferred from the Social Affairs and Health Ministry to the Ministry of Education.

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