Eight times students have set fire to the school. The school will now provide free hot food to help put an end to the fires. The menu gives a hint as to who is behind the vandalism.

A series of school fires has caused fear among students and teachers at Galterud secondary school in Drammen. Since the New Year, someone has caused eight fires in rubbish bins and cloakroom facilities.

NRK writes this. Headmaster Simon Jara says that both pupils and parents are very anxious, and Jara himself ended up in the emergency room after putting out a fire in a toilet. But now headmaster Jara has introduced a new initiative to stop the arson.

Free lunch for the criminal mobs! Reminiscent of pizza for criminals and Tafsa inte, as we have previously seen in Sweden.

Today is the first day they will be served a free lunch. Bulgur and tzatziki are on the menu.

One can ask the question: Why is brown cheese and salami not served?

We have a need for cohesion and a sense of community. We believe a meal that prevents alienation is an important measure, says Jara.

Norwegian food is thus exclusionary, in Norway! But the students are satisfied.

The canteen becomes a meeting point. We sit and talk together, instead of walking around the school grounds. We become calmer and more ready for class when the Bell rings, says Ronja Teien in the student council.

The student council leader thinks it is perfectly fine that the school is now monitored by cameras.

I have not heard that anyone thinks there is a problem. The video recordings should only be used if an incident occurs. Those who are considering lighting up might want to think twice now, she says.

FrP is critical, since it is those who do not behave who are rewarded.

We have a lot of schools in Drammen. The pupils at these schools do not get free, hot food as a reward for behaving properly. It must not appear that those who commit criminal acts are rewarded.

This is also the opinion of Lavrans Kierulf (FrP), who sits on the main committee for upbringing and education in Drammen municipality.

But even if principal Jara understands that it can be difficult to see the connection between arson and free lunch, he is sure that it will work. There are many students who come to school without having eaten breakfast. As if this triggers a natural desire to set fire to school.

Now I think the students are looking forward to being served rice and lentils as we have had in the past. It’s a vegan dish that costs very little, but does very, very much for our students, says Jara.

Personally, I would have moved my children immediately to another school, so they would rather manage without rice, lentils and school fires.

But then, according to local politicians, I want to contribute to “talking down the school”, instead of focusing on this community they always talk about. As it was written in Drammens Tidende in 2021:

Galterud also has groups exposed to difficult living conditions. They need more resources that go into the purely technical aspects of buildings. They have also struggled for years with a reputation that means they are currently struggling to recruit teachers. When students who feel ashamed to say that they go to Galterud, and teachers who are warned against taking a job at Galterud, all stand together to change the reputation of their school, as they are doing at Galterud, it is an important message to get out.

The group of MDG, V, Ap, SV and Sp will encourage the media, politicians and parents to join in highlighting the good in our local communities. We can either help build community, or tear it down.

With “disadvantaged groups” setting fire to the school, it’s no wonder that you “need more resources”, one might object. But then you probably break up the beautiful “community”.


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