From Iceland — Claims Of Human Rights Violations In Primary Schools

Claims Of Human Rights Violations In Primary Schools

Published August 18, 2021

Desirai Thompson
Photo by
Vísir/Egill Aðalsteinsson

Claims have been levied against Icelandic primary schools for neglecting to provide appropriate educational services to students with disabilities.

Claims of negligence

The claims arose on a Facebook page, Sagan okkar, encouraging parents to share their experiences navigating the primary school system alongside their children with disabilities. Teachers also began sharing their perceptions.

It was also asked that respondents share their idea of what inclusion means to them. The resounding opinion is that inclusion policies have not been implemented properly due to, among other things, a lack of funding. Ultimately, vulnerable children are being left without vital resources.

Parents of young children in Icelandic primary schools demand that specialized resources must be available to children who need them. Developmental therapists, psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists and physiotherapists are among the positions parents want readily available in their schools. The petition states this is vital in improving the well-being of these schoolchildren.

Children are guaranteed the right to equal access in schooling, regardless of physical, mental or developmental disability. Vísir reports that ever third child in Iceland is in need of some form of support.

Daníel Isebarn Ágústsson, a lawyer representing the Icelandic Disability Alliance (Öryrkjabandalagsins), says that if the demands are not met, the matter will likely have to be taken to court.

Iceland’s responsibility

Iceland is signatory to most United Nations international human rights conventions including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. These two treaties are integral in securing the rights of children with disabilities to equal access to education.

By ratifying these treaties, Iceland has agreed to a legal obligation to secure the rights outlined in the treaties by implementing domestic measures and necessary legislation.

The Icelandic Disability Alliance feels the rights of children with disabilities in primary schools are being violated. They are asking municipalities to submit plans detailing the measures to be undertaken to correct these concerns.

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