Controversy over a speech on the Norwegian Independence Day

May 19, 2012

A high school student from a Norwegian school on Gran Canaria had stirred up much controversy due to the speech given in her school on the day of celebrating the Norwegian Independence. She expressed partial support to the political views held by Ander Behring Breivik. The present students and their parents (Norwegian ex-pats), many of whom reacted strongly against her support, listened in dismay. The controversy is most clearly visible in the emerged conflict between the head of the school’s Parents’ Union (FAU), Ronny Kiil Olsen, and the school’s principal, Benedikte Grongstad.

Olsen defended the speech: “It was a speech which I approved and which was perhaps a little controversial. She is a reflective girl who came up with some political statements about the constitutional changes and mentioned among other things, the Islamization and Breivik.”

The Principal on the other hand was strongly critical of the FAU which, according to him, strongly endorsed these opinions. She further added that she will call Olson for a meeting next week where they will be discussing the speech and its contents.

Olson, is dismissive of the principal’s (and some of the parents’) strong reactions: “I don’t care about their reactions. The principal must accept this! The school’s purpose is to educate youth. If they censor the children away from media and society (disallowing opinions), this is wrong. The school should serve as a guide through life. I deeply disagree with the principle. In Norway we have freedom of expression, as well as in Spain.”

The school had experienced problems in the past. Several scandals and other issues concerning differences between the school’s administrative staff and many of the students’ parents have been in focus.