Crimes at school
Children and young people can also become victims of crime at school. Bullying can include acts that meet the definition of a crime. School crimes are generally complex, because they include different kinds of crime. Criminal offenses at school can include slander, dissemination of information that violates the person’s right to privacy, intimidation, vandalism and assault. Violence must never be ignored, wherever it happens. Violence at school can also continue outside of school.
Quite commonly, the perpetrator of school violence downplays his or her actions, claiming that it was merely a joke or horsing around. A crime is a crime, and there is no excuse for committing one. Responsibility for violence always lies with the person who commits it. It is important to remember that also those who have encouraged and assisted the offender can be guilty of a crime. Although persons under the age of 15 cannot be convicted of a crime, they are still required to compensate for the damage they have caused. Those over 15 may earn a criminal record, while those under 15 may be entered into the police database.
When a crime is investigated at school, both the staff and students must deal with it collectively. Everyone has the right to attend school without fear for their physical and emotional safety. Schools should have protocols in place for situations of school violence, and such protocol must be implemented. The most important thing is to report wrongdoings to an adult, which will get the process started so that the situation can be addressed. Under no circumstances should the situation be downplayed. The victim has the right to be heard properly. If the school does not have the resources to deal with the situation, the staff must request help from police. The case may also enter into mediation, in which case people from outside the school will oversee the matter. Anyone aware of violence taking place at school can report it, even if the offender is under 15. In certain situations, school staff are required by law to file a Child Welfare Notification and report the case to the police.