Laywering up for school

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Parents and guardians increasingly attend their children's assessments in high schools, trying to influence grading decisions, even with lawyers demanding better grades for their offspring. Traditionally, such pressure was mainly seen at primary school levels, but it now extends to high school assessments, especially for students at risk of repeating the year due to poor exam results.

In one case, legal action was threatened against a teacher based on a misunderstanding of the available remedies. The main curriculum allows for an external examiner's review, whose decision is final.

Guðjón Hreinn Hauksson, Chair of the Secondary School Teachers’ Association, notes the difficult position teachers are put in, saying, “This is an extraordinary situation for teachers, having to justify their grading to lawyers.” He highlights the lack of data on how frequently teachers face legal scrutiny but suggests it's increasing.

Helga Kristín Kolbeins, Chair of the Icelandic School Principals’ Association, stresses the importance of transparency in grading, noting that while lawyers' involvement is rare, it underscores the need for clear grading rules. Steinn Jóhannsson, principal of Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð, reflects on the increasing harshness in parent-teacher interactions, with teachers sometimes facing outright hostility.

Guðjón Hreinn Hauksson, chairman of the Association of Secondary School …

Guðjón Hreinn Hauksson, chairman of the Association of Secondary School Teachers.

Helga Kristín Kolbeins, chair of the Icelandic School-Masters Association (SMÍ).

Helga Kristín Kolbeins, chair of the Icelandic School-Masters Association (SMÍ). Aðsend

Steinn Jóhannsson, the headmaster of Hamrahlíð College.

Steinn Jóhannsson, the headmaster of Hamrahlíð College. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

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