Different parties within the field of education – students, teachers, education providers and even the Minister of Education – want to express their strong support for and commitment to noticing, highlighting and putting an end to all sexual harassment in Finnish schools and educational institutions.
The undersigned are committed to absolute zero tolerance towards harassment, and emphasise that in order to prevent it we will need the help of the entire society. Students should also be included in planning the measures through their student unions.
It is the responsibility of everyone who notices harassment to bring it up and intervene, as well as to encourage those concerned to bring up the unwanted behaviour. This particularly applies to managers, teachers and other grownups. It is the responsibility of the management to, together with the teachers, create a safe culture and learning environment.
“Each child and young person must be guaranteed personal integrity, safety and the opportunity to grow as a person while being protected from harassment. It is the duty of the school and the education provider to make sure that the learning environment is safe for all children and young people,” Minister Sanni Grahn-Laasonen and Director General Olli-Pekka Heinonen from the Finnish National Agency for Education emphasise.
“When it comes to schools and educational institutions, the education provider should make sure that they have a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment,” Terhi Päivärinta from the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and Teemu Hassinen from the Association of Finnish Independent Education Employers point out. “Everyone who works in a school or educational institution, both students and staff, have the right to a safe study and work environment. If harassment occurs, steps must be taken immediately to stop it.”
Olli Luukkainen, President of the Trade Union of Education in Finland OAJ, emphasises that a teacher must always comply with the highest possible rules of ethics, and act in an exemplary fashion when working with children and young people. “A teacher and manager should create a safe environment for learning, and there is no place for a different kind of behaviour in teaching.”
The presidents of the student organisations – Riina Lumme, Pietu Heiskanen, Anni Koivisto, Jasmina Khabbal and Eini Järvi – summarised their message as follows: “The student years are for many the years of growing up and becoming an adult, and the skills and habits learned during one’s studies follow a person into working life. That is why it is important that we put an end to sexual harassment and the culture of silencing victims during this generation’s time as students. We all need to join in to achieve this: every one of us has the responsibility to intervene if we notice harassment taking place. Let us together build a study environment that is safe for everyone!”
Everyone working in teaching, education or research can express their commitment to ending harassment by using the hashtag #NOMORE
Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of Education, Ministry of Education and Culture
Teemu Hassinen, CEO, Association of Finnish Independent Education Employers
Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General, Finnish National Agency for Education
Pietu Heiskanen, Chairperson, Union of Upper Secondary School Students in Finland
Eini Järvi, President, Osku
Jasmina Khabbal, President, Sakki
Anni Koivisto, President, SAMOK
Riina Lumme, President, National Union of University Students in Finland SYL
Olli Luukkainen, President, Trade Union of Education in Finland OAJ
Terhi Päivärinta, Director, Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities