Bullying Checklist

The checklist serves as a guide for those working on anti-bullying plans at school and recreation sites. It coordinates a plan for prevention, intervention, and follow-up in cases of bullying in all school districts in Reykjavik. The checklist was prepared in broad consultation between school and recreation staff, representatives of parents, and service centers.


  • Children and youth are purposefully trained in democratic collaboration characterized by respect, empathy, and responsibility.
  • Depending on the situation, workplaces set guidelines for communication prepared by all staff, children, youth, and parents.
  • All staff are involved in the preparation and annual review of the anti-bullying plan, which aligns attitudes and communication standards to prevent bullying and other forms of violence from occurring.
  • The goal of the anti-bullying plan is for staff, children/youth, and parents to become more aware of bullying so that they know the symptoms, can react to it, and know where to seek help.
  • Education is provided annually for staff on the effects of bullying and the impact of staff on the communication of children and youth.
  • The anti-bullying plan will be presented to staff, children/youth, and parents, all of whom are responsible for preventing bullying.
  • Results of staff and child/youth well-being surveys will be utilized in preventing bullying at work.
  • School rules/protocols are well presented and an anti-bullying team is active.


  • All indications of bullying are taken seriously, including those that take place outside of school and recreation. Parent fill out a form when they report bullying against their child.
  • The person receiving information refers the case to the anti-bullying team which examines the case through an informal survey.
  • If the anti-bullying team believes bullying is likely, it contacts the parents of the child being bullied seeking their consent for the team to continue working on the case.
  • Formal recording begins. Registration form.
  • The team will gather more information and report on the next steps. If the anti-bullying team believes that the problem does not fall within the definition of bullying, the case is referred to the appropriate authority, such as the Student Protection Council.
  • The anti-bullying team formulates a strategy and action plan within two working days.
  • If a survey reveals that there is bullying, discussions are held with the parents of the children believed to be causing the bullying first and then with the children concerned.
  • The locations where the child goes for recreation/school are mapped and contacted after consultation with the parents.
  • When needed, support and advice should be sought from a service center for case resolution.
  • The processing decision is made on the basis of the findings and in consultation with parties to the case. Confidentiality should be maintained.
  • Cases must generally be fully processed within two weeks of being submitted to the anti-bullying team. In some cases, the processing of cases may take longer due to the scope.
  • All parties are informed of the outcome in consultation with the parents concerned.
  • Examining whether support needs to be provided to the class/group.
  • If a satisfactory outcome is not obtained, the case should be referred to the Student Protection Council and further advice and support should be sought from a service center and/or the Office of the Department of Education and Youth in Reykjavik at 411 1111. If people believe their rights have been violated, they can go to Residents' Ombudsman who is responsible for guiding residents and businesses when they interact with the City and seek to protect their rights and giving advice on complaint procedures in cases referred to the Ombudsman.
  • If a satisfactory outcome is not reached within the City of Reykjavik, the matter may be referred to sectorial council operating under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education and Culture.


  • The anti-bullying team and parties to the case make a plan for follow-up after an intervention is completed.
  • The person targeted by bullying and the person(s) responsible for the bullying will be supported with follow-up for at least 6 months by each party.
  • An identified person continues to consult with the parents of the children concerned during the follow-up.
  • The case will be closed in a formal manner. Parents sign a form.

Democratic Cooperation

The strongest prevention agains bullying is for children to learn in an organized way to play and work together under the guiding lights of democracy, human rights, and equality. As stated in the National Curriculum, these baselines should be integrated throughout all school activities and not limited to specific classes.


The SFS After-School Center Procedure Manual defines communication and social skills as the key factors to foster in all recreational activities. Scholars have also argued that, in order to prevent bullying, everyone needs to master tolerance for their fellow human beings and, in particular, those considered in some way to be outside the established group.


A comprehensive Swedish study on bullying in schools shows that, among other things, little bullying is found when the school atmosphere is characterized by cooperation and commitment, creative work, trust, and responsibility. The staff at these schools also has a collective attitudes towards basic values in communication, students actively participate in prevention, and they, together with staff, work purposefully with values.

The Council of Europe's Education Policy, the Pestalozzi Programme, aims to ensure that schools are free from violence. It considers that students need orderly training in cooperation and dialogue. In this way, they are trained to express their opinions, listen, take into account different ideas, seek solutions to disputes, and share responsibilities. These skills are a prerequisite for a democratic society, for the class, school, and society at large. In other words, it is not sufficient to address democratic cooperation, it must be practiced in an orderly manner.

Step by Step

Anti-Bullying Plan

Article 30 of Act No 91/2008 on Compulsory School states, among other things:

…Compulsory schools must maintain a coherent policy on ways to prevent cases of physical, verbal and social aggression within the school. Schools must likewise maintain a plan on the implementation of the statutory reporting requirement of the Child Protection Act, as well as on the response to cases involving bullying, other types of aggression, or social exclusion. Part of the implementation of the plan must be for each school to establish school rules. School rules should cover aspects such as general conduct, social interactions, punctuality, diligence in study, and the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. The rules should also specify how the school intends to respond to cases of violation of the rules.

Article 7 of Regulation No 1040/2011 on the Responsibilities and Duties of Parties to the School Community in Primary Education states:

School anti-bullying measures involve the school as a whole, individual class departments, study groups, and individuals. Each teacher is responsible for actively and responsibly enforcing the school's anti-bullying action plan, and the principal is responsible for ensuring that the effort is coordinated.

The nature and extent of bullying in schools must be regularly investigated, findings presented, and remedied.

The anti-bullying action plan is an integral part of the school curriculum and is presented separately as necessary and should be officially published. Expert support staff shall assist schools in relation to anti-bullying measures and resolution of individual cases as necessary.

It is desirable that the anti-bullying plans of primary schools also cover the City of Reykjavik's organized recreational activities. Anti-bullying plans for workplaces in school and recreation should be prepared in accordance with this checklist.

Attention is drawn to the fact that the City of Reykjavik has also established an anti-bullying response plan for bullying between staff.

BullyingArticle 3 of the Regulation on Action Against Bullying in the Workplace, No. 1009/2015 provides a definition of the term bullying.

The same definition can be used for children as there is no other legal definition. According to the Regulation, the definition of bullying is:

Repeated behavior that is generally intended to make the person affected feel unwell, such as belittling, insulting, hurting, or intimidating the sufferer, or causing the sufferer to feel fear. This does not cover any differences of opinion or disputes arising from different interests.

According to the Regulation, the following aspects must be present in order for the conduct to be considered bullying:

  1. The conduct is defamatory, injurious, or degrading to the person affected and is intended to discriminate against, intimidate, exclude, and make uncomfortable the person to whom the conduct is directed.
  2. The sufferer finds it difficult to defend themselves.
  3. The behavior needs to be repeated and last for some time, [a week or more].

School Rules/Protocols

The concept of school rules is defined by the Compulsory School Act and Article 30 states, among other things:

…Part of the implementation of the plan must be for each school to establish school rules…

Other SFS workplaces establish a protocol that has the same purpose, namely to ensure a safe environment for all children and youth and to promote good communication. It is important that responses to violations of the protocol are well communicated and addressed as soon as the protocol is implemented.

Anti-Bullying Tips

Any suspicion of bullying in primary schools and recreational activities should be referred to an anti-bullying team.

In preschools, preschool principals or department heads should be notified of suspicions.

Even though it is found that there is no bullying, any evidence of unwanted contact or unwellness among children must be taken seriously and the problem addressed according to its nature.

The same procedure applies to indications of suspected bullying that appear outside the normal hours of school and recreational activities, such as online or at sports and youth clubs.

When parents are requested to attend a school or recreational meeting to discuss possible bullying, they should always be informed who will be at the meeting. Parents should also be encouraged not to come to meetings alone, but to bring someone they trust. In this way, care is taken to ensure that meetings are balanced.

Anti-Bullying Team

We encourage all primary schools to have an active anti-bullying team. The teams should include the best suited professionals in their respective school community and local community. These may include school counselors, teachers, recreational counselors, primary school and/or after-school center administrators, and other staff who are knowledgeable and interested in working to combat bullying.

Any person who receives information about potential bullying is responsible for bringing the case to the attention of an anti-bullying team. We further suggest that anti-bullying teams be responsible for ensuring that the correct processes are followed, such as concerns registrations, parental information, and support and counseling for affected children and others. Whether there is an anti-bullying team or not, we suggest always having more than one person involved in the detection and resolution of bullying cases if they occur.

Article 13 of Act No 91/2008 on Compulsory School states, among other things:

Class teachers must closely monitors the schooling of their pupils, their development, well-being and general well-being, guide them in their studies and school work, assist and advise them regarding personal matters, and work to strengthen the cooperation between the school and the home.

The responsibility of the class teacher for the well-being of students is therefore great. Often, the class teacher can resolve impending communication problems and bullying issues. However, seeing as bullying issues tend to become very painful and difficult to resolve, class teachers and other responsible parties are strongly encouraged to immediately inform the anti-bullying team or other specialized staff when bullying is suspected. The resolution of each case depends on the nature of the case and the decisions of the anti-bullying team. The anti-bullying team shall establish its own rules of procedure.

Preschools generally do not have an anti-bullying team. The preschool principal is the person responsible when bullying cases occur in their preschool and should consult the service center school services.

Informal Survey

If the issue is not clear, an anti-bullying team will need to gather minimum information before proceeding. The children concerned are monitored and spoken to informally without mentioning the concept of bullying. It is also normal for it to examine whether other staff at the workplace, who work with the children concerned, have noticed any negative contact or discomfort with the children concerned.

Structured Recording

As soon as there is a suspicion of bullying, the anti-bullying team must begin a formal record of all information pertaining to the case and the decisions taken. Care must be taken to record only facts about events, conversations or the results of observations, and not interpretations and opinions. The more specific the record, the better it is for others to get involved and follow up. Parents have access to records that concerns their own child.

More information and next steps

If the suspicion of a child being bullied or feeling unwell becomes stronger during an informal survey, the anti-bullying team must, in conjunction with the class teacher or director of recreational activities (if the issue arises there), decide who will contact the parents of suspected sufferer (the person who is believed to feel unwell).

The caller must start the conversation with caution and ask the parents in general about how their child feels and how the child interacts with other children. If the conversation indicates that there may be a case of bullying, parental consent is requested for the case to be further processed by the anti-bullying team. This includes giving the anti-bullying team permission to identify the problem, gather information, and find appropriate solutions.

The caller informs the parents about the representative of the anti-bullying team, their working rules, and when to expect information. It is preferable to have the consent of the parent in writing or by email. Parents are encouraged to reach out if they wish to share information or ask questions.

If the conversation does not suggest that there is bullying, then there are other ways to find the causes and resolve the problem.

Student-protection council

Article 19 of the Regulation on Municipalities Professional Services at Preschools and Primary Schools and Student Protection Councils in Primary Schools states:

If the student does not receive adequate assistance due to disability, disease, or academic, social, or emotional difficulties, the class teacher shall refer the matter to the student-protection council in writing.

Representatives on the student-protection council may take the initiative to address individual student cases in the council.

School staff, parents, students, and representatives of the school's professional services may request the principal or the principal’s representative on the student-protection council to bring cases of individual students or student groups before the Council.

Parents are always informed if their child's case is formally referred to the school principal or the Student Protection Council, and cooperation with parents to resolve issues is sought whenever possible.

The student-protection council shall address matters referred to the council as soon as possible.

Article 20 of that regulation further states:

The Council assesses what additional information is needed and invites to its meeting the class teacher and parents, as well as other parties involved if necessary.

Other persons may include those working with children in recreational settings, the police, counselors, or others who have additional information that may be useful for processing cases.

Plan and Division of Labor

The plan and division of labor means that the anti-bullying team will agree on the course of the case and who is responsible for the specific aspects of it. It is important to anticipate cooperation with parents in the plan and to consider the involvement of recreational counselors and others who are involved in the child's case.

The following aspects should be considered:

  • The order in which parties are spoken to: Talking first to the person targeted by bullying and parents and
  • then the person(s) believed to be behind the bullying and their parents.
  • Who speaks to whom
  • And who is contacted
  • What is spoken about – why
  • You must consider the interview location (for security and privacy)
  • Relationship surveys
  • Field observations – where the bullying occurs and when
  • Who obtains information and where.
  • Who is responsible for the record, what is recorded, and where.

Once the suspicion of bullying has become substantial, the person believed to be responsible for the bullying is spoken to. If there is more than one child, they are spoken to individually. It is best if this is a person other than the person who is supporting the child being bullied.

Being accused of bullying is a serious matter, so you have to start by talking to their parents and inviting them to be present. This should preferably happen on the same day. It needs to be borne in mind that parents have a right of objection on behalf of their child and the consent of the perpetrators parents is required to discuss matters involving their children.

It is important to let the discussion be about specific behaviors, not the child, and, if at all possible, about specific events. It is much easier for the support person to discuss matters in this way and this prevents the child from refusing to recognize their behavior. It may be good to have two employees together at the meeting and to inform parents in advance of who they are.

The goal of the meeting is to get the child to recognize that their behavior is wrong and needs to be improved. The supporter, the child, and the parents agree on how the child can make up for the bad behavior and change it for the better. A plan is drawn up and the supporting perons follows it up.

Support and advice from a service centre

If there is a likelihood that a case may become complicated to resolve, the facility supervisor, or the person designated by the supervisor, should contact the district service center for advice on resolving the case. It is often best to seek advice sooner rather than later.

The service centers have response teams or emergency teams in place that deal immediately with cases of violence and other serious issues through counseling or intervention when needed. The city has five district service centres run by Reykjavik’s Department of Welfare. Their role is to provide counseling to individuals and families, and they also provide school services to the City's preschools and primary schools.

Processing Decisions

The processing of a case must be in accordance with the circumstances of the case and the age and maturity of the children. It is necessary that the person(s) behind the bullying acknowledge their behaviour, what is wrong with it, and why. They also need to communicate how they intend to make up for their behavior and benefit from the guidance of support providers in making amends and becoming better.

The person targeted by the bully needs a chance to discuss their own feelings. They must receive acknowledgement that the bullying they suffer from is unjustifiable. They need to be shown empathy, but above all they must be kept safe and the bullying must be prevented from recurring. All children have the right of confidentiality concerning their matters, and any action to resolve cases should take that into account.

Suggestions for further processing: Foreldrahus Parent House, service center classes and counseling, friend groups, specific group work at youth centers/after-school centers, empowering the child by seeking new ways in social activities and psychological support.

Parties to the Case

It is important that parents are always well informed about their children's issues. This is especially important as they can be expected to be concerned about their well-being, as is the case with suspected bullying.

Parents should always know/have awareness of the objectives being pursued at school or in recreational activities, and also of the achievements, and participate to the extent possible. It is always good to decide with parents when and how they will receive information next regarding bullying cases involving their child.

Examining whether support needs to be provided to the class/group

On March 10, 2012, the Minister of Education and Culture confirmed the procedures for the functioning of the Bullying Disciplinary Council in accordance with Regulation No. 1040/2011 on the Responsibilities and Duties of the School Community in Primary Schools. The revised procedures were subsequently confirmed by the Minister on May 17, 2016.

Parents and other members of the school community, such as students, staff, and school administrators, as well as others working with children in school, recreational, or leisure activities, may request the intervention of a sectorial council if it is not possible to find an adequate solution, within a school or municipality, despite the involvement of school staff and the municipalities professional services. The same persons may also refer a case to the sectorial council for alleged inaction by a school or municipality.

The sectorial council has two main roles in the handling of cases which it receives. Firstly, the council will be a supportive partner for the school community, which may include general counseling, guidance, or information. Secondly, the council shall endeavour to achieve a satisfactory resolution in cases of bullying, if at all possible, and issue an advisory opinion in a given case on the basis of the data and information received by the council in a given case.

Support and Follow-Up

It can be very difficult for one and the same person to earn, and maintain, the trust of both the person suffering from the bullying and also the person(s) perpetrating the bullying. That is why it is suggested to have two support persons. In primary school, for example, it could be a student counselor or class teacher, but other persons in the children's environment, such as recreational counselors, support staff, or special education teachers, may also be involved, depending on the local circumstances.

The support person for the perpetrator focuses on the goal of making up for past behavior and improving it, and praises the progress made. The support person for the sufferer needs to focus on listening, empathizing, securing safety, and building self-confidence. It is important to also inform parents of progress.

Designated Person

The person who the anti-bullying team has decided should follow up on the case.

Closing the case in a formal manner

Each case must be amicably concluded with the children concerned, their parents, and others involved. It is good to have the conclusion of a case in writing and even signed by parties to the case. Parents of the children concerned have the right to written documentation regarding the case. Parents sign a form.

Comments & Suggestions

Please send your comments and suggestions to: olof.kristin.sivertsen@reykjavik.is.