Russian sweater ban: Law professors react

Russian sweater ban: Law professors react

– Fundamentally, I think the ban is in no way sensible or fair and should never have been adopted. If I were a student, I would start by complaining to the state administrator.

This is what Hans Friedrich Martinussen, professor of law at UiB, says.

The call comes after the county council in Innlandet last week introduced a ban on students wearing Russian sweaters showing which Russian group they belong to.

However, Thomas Breen, the county mayor in Inlandet, deflected the criticism and believes Martinhuizen is on “thin ice”. Read more about his reaction to the case.

Hans Friedrich Martinussen
Hans Friedrich Martinussen

Professor of Law at the University of Bergen

Martinussen is clear in his ruling on the bullet point he intends to ban Russian sweaters.

– It is very clumsily made. Most Russian sweaters are legal to wear as they do not contradict the text of the ban.

In particular he criticizes the provision for banning consequences that are “intended to alienate other fellow students”.

– As a lawyer, I would say that this is a condition that is rarely met, says Martinussen.

Teachers should evaluate themselves

The law professor also criticizes leaving too much interpretation and evaluation to schools.

– It is completely hopeless for teachers and schools to judge what intentions individual students have with their clothing. It appears that Russian sweaters should not occur, but they have adopted a ban that does not affect the normal use of Russian sweaters.

According to NRK The legal department in the district municipality was not involved in the design process.

Anine Geerulf
Anine Geerulf

Professor of Law at the University of Oslo

Martinussen is supported by colleague Anine Kierulf, Professor of Law.

– This decision is obviously very well-intentioned, but one might take the good intentions a little too far. Kierlf says it's not easy to prove the intent of wearing a Russian sweater to exclude other students.

– I in no way want to trivialize the issues of Russian celebration and outsiders, but this is not the way to deal with it, she continues.

Sweaters like those worn here by Maria Andersen Lillehagen and Mathea Tømmerdal Nordby of “Mantrum” are no longer allowed in indoor schools. Photo: Private

Kearlf was baffled by the attempt to “regulate” youth culture.

– Young people have ways of organizing themselves. It is characteristic of young people of all ages. Now it is expressed through Russian groups, and later it will be expressed in other ways.

May be illegal

– The big question is whether there is a basis for such a ban in law, that is, in education law, in my opinion no, says Martinussen.

Kirlf, for his part, believes the school has the right to control how students dress, but finds limiting one type of clothing problematic.

– The county owns the school, so can decide a lot, but there are clear limits. As ordinary citizens, students have many rights.

Reject criticism

The county mayor, Thomas Breen (Ap), takes the criticism with crushed calm.

– I am in no way associated with Martinussen. While he says this is pointless and should never be accepted, he is on thin ice in relation to his professional expertise, Breen believes.

Thomas Breen
Thomas Breen

District Mayor in Inlandet

He explains that he is not concerned with the law but is more concerned with getting the desired effect of the action.

– I think words are very easy to relate to. We should not have group names and symbols that identify groups within the school.

– If there is a complaint, and it turns out that our words do not hold legal water, I am completely cool about it. Then we adjust the wording, but the goal is set, and we have a very large majority in the District Council.

I think more districts will introduce this

Breen justifies the decision by saying that many Russians feel left out and that there is a broad desire among Norwegian politicians to do something about the current conditions among Russians.

– Many district politicians want more regulation of the Russian celebration. I predict that by 2026, all counties will introduce this ban.

The Labor politician respects that students have the right to complain about the decision through formal channels, but warns Russians planning not to follow the new guidelines.

– If some of our students want to challenge this again and again with life and death, orderly behavior is at risk.

In the past, raking-pins in secondary schools caused reactions as an early start to the “Russian Hierarchy”:

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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