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SCHOOL

Teen intent on suing Austria for bullying

A hearing has taken place into the case of a teenager from Vorarlberg who intends to sue the Austrian government for €21,000 because he was bullied at school and claims that his teachers failed to put a stop to it.

Teen intent on suing Austria for bullying
File photo: APA

The 16-year old told the Regional Court of Feldkirch that his classmates at a state grammar school in Bregenz bullied him on a daily basis, ridiculing him in class, spitting at him and throwing ink-soaked paper balls at him. When he changed classes the bullies continued to shout at him every time he passed them.

He said that two of the ringleaders had choked a friend of his, and that he was so afraid of them that he refused to go on a school skiing trip.

To try and defuse the situation, the school organized two workshops with school psychologists, but the 16-year-old said that this didn’t cause any lasting improvement.

The teenager left the school last year and has since been attending a technical school, where he said he gets on with his classmates and is getting good marks.

The school maintains that it took the case seriously and was concerned for the 16-year-old’s welfare.

The teenager’s parents said that they spoke to the school principal in October and tried to intervene on numerous occasions but that little was done to stop the bullying – other than switching their son to a different class.  

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SCHOOL

Austrian students keep fit with classroom bikes

Exercise bikes placed at the back of classrooms are helping school pupils in Austria keep fit while studying.

Austrian students keep fit with classroom bikes
Read and Ride

Around 200 pupils at a school on Dietrichgasse in Vienna’s Landstraße district have adopted the concept of ‘learning while moving’ by riding exercise bikes at the back of the classroom.

Students and teachers told the Austrian broadcaster ORF that as well as keeping them fit, the exercise helps improve concentration in the class.

“I don’t fall asleep and I don’t become tired,” one student said.

Another added: “It is a lot of fun and it perks you up if you are cycling in the morning.”

“We know it helps concentration,” explains teacher Karin Rohrer-Blaschke. “It works beautifully. The pupils can also write, read, and do everything else at the same time as riding the machine.”

The pupils change places every thirty minutes so all the students get a chance to exercise.

Some form of ‘moving while learning’ has been adopted in more than 200 Vienna school classes since 2000. The Dietrichgasse school had to fund its own exercise bikes and was supported by the district, parent organisations, and sponsors.

Other countries have also adopted the concept. In the United States the Read and Ride programme, which started in a primary school in North Carolina in 2009, now funds exercise bikes in over 30 schools.

One study carried out by a school using their programme found students who spent the most time on the bikes achieved 83 percent proficiency in reading, compared to 41 percent for those who spent the least amount of time exercising in class.

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