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Bullying by the Birralee administration and board – a very alarming experience for a new family.

Update: after receiving some questions via the website, we wanted to make it clear that the unnamed kindergarten staff member that was the subject of concerns presented to the management, is NOT anyone listed on the current employee page:

Update 2: the Birralee Parent Handbook has now been updated to include the email contact information for the Chair of the Board Merethe Baustad Ranum!

Update 3: a parent has pointed out that the current Birralee Parent Handbook states (under “Questions and Concerns of Parents” on the not-numbered page 36): “Please be advised that, if you approach a member of the Board, he or she will redirect your concerns to the Principal” – therefore if you have a problem with the principal, your only avenue of recourse is to go through the principal – which of course defies all logic, and from my own experience will not get any issues resolved.

This is just one of many terrible experiences my family has encountered at Birralee. This particular situation resulted from myself and my husband raising concerns about the professionalism and qualifications of an employee that works with small children.

My family moved to Trondheim in August of 2018, and while our first impressions of the school were positive – we very quickly realized that there were serious problems with the management of both the Birralee International School and the Birralee International Kindergarten. This is possibly the most concerning issue we’ve had at the school, as it’s casts doubt on how safe the families and children are at Birralee, due to the lack of professionalism and apparent vindictiveness of the management.

This situation is complex, but is rather easily summarized here, and via two documents you’ll find below: a 13 page complaint that I presented to the principal of Birralee directly, along with the very telling and rather disgusting response from the board of directors. Identifying information has been redacted as necessary.

Briefly summarized, myself and my husband had some concerns about a staff member that works in the Birralee building (the Kindergarten and the Birralee school are two separate entities, but share all facilities in the same building). When we tried to address the matter with the management of the kindergarten, we were treated rudely, ended up being slandered and shunned, had our personal data illegally released from the school, and felt bullied by the administrations of both schools (kindergarten and Birralee school). We were also left without any help from the Board of Directors nor the County Governor after submitting our case to them.

Also telling, was the reaction from parents that I shared my official complaint with. Two parents asked me “why” I had even raised concern about the staff member, and expressed that it “wasn’t a good idea to do that” (seriously – how can this be? What kind of culture is fostered at this school, where you should think twice before raising a concern?). I also shared my 13 page complaint with two trusted Parent’s Committee reps from the Birralee school, and while one of them was concerned about what happened, she seemed too afraid to make any suggestions or bring it up with the committee, and the other rep decided to simply not respond and ignore it altogether.

On the morning I presented my complaint to the principal, I asked once again if she had any information about who from the school gave out my personal data. She claimed that she had asked “everyone” (presumably – those that work in the office) and that no one admitted to it, and therefore she just “doesn’t know”. Another Birralee staff member was in this meeting, and suggested that I just accept that I’ll never know, and try to “move on”. At no point did anyone even apologize for this unauthorized and illegal release of my own personal data. And the response from the Board of Directors makes it clear that they too are unconcerned about this GDPR violation, and don’t feel the need to provide an answer as to how or why this happened. Given that the Board of Directors has members with legal backgrounds, who should absolutely understand the most basic rights covered by the GDPR, it is abundantly clear that this Board is enabling the incompetencies and irresponsible actions of the Birralee administrators.

The overall lesson from this is that parents are NOT safe to bring concerns about staff to the management of Birralee nor the Birralee kindergarten. This of course, is very worrying for any parent at either of the Birralee schools.

Note – please see our Resources page to learn more about GDPR, and other laws that pertain to educational institutions in Norway.

The original 13 page complaint pdf (click to view):

The pitiful response from the board of directors (click to view):
(and to date, no response has been received from the County Governor weeks after this complaint was submitted to them)

[posted by admin on behalf of Sonja]

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  1. Pingback:Quick comparison of two international schools in Norway - Birralee PC

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