The declaration and event of School Peace are made by the students themselves.


School peace will be declared in Ylivieska on August 23, 2023. This year, students have chosen the theme "Diversity is Enrichment - Olikhet är en rikedom" (in English: Diversity is Enrichment). The chosen theme highlights the importance of embracing diversity, especially in the context of current challenges related to children's mental well-being, loneliness, and bullying.

Recent school health surveys have revealed that the most vulnerable children and youth, such as those with immigrant backgrounds, gender minorities, and those with special needs, are the ones who suffer the most from bullying and discrimination. The understanding of diversity requires continuous effort, and it's a message that children and youth want to convey to adults.

Inclusion for All in Schools

The theme for the academic year 2023-2024 School Peace has been selected by students from Taanila, Kaisaniemi, Raudaskoski, and Ojakylä schools in Ylivieska, as well as students from Svenska Privatskolan i Uleåborg in Oulu. The students chose the theme because many individuals experience discrimination in schools. They emphasize the importance of addressing this issue to create a more inclusive environment. According to the students, the diversity among people is what makes it enriching.

"It would be boring if everyone were the same. It's wonderful that people can look at things from different perspectives. People do things differently, and we can learn from that. No one should be bullied because of their differences. It's important that everyone can be at peace in school," the students emphasize.

Adults' Responsibility to Counter Mistreatment

Promoting equality and combating discrimination must be an ongoing part of school life. The students express the hope that discrimination and bullying will be addressed firmly and persistently. The right to be oneself should be a fundamental right for every child, both at school and at home.

Sari Haapakangas, an expert in special education at the Finnish Parents' Association, regards the chosen theme "Diversity is Enrichment" as crucial and wisely chosen.

"Both home and school can contribute to the well-being of all children through community efforts and by promoting an attitude of inclusivity. Every individual has the right to be themselves without being diminished or discriminated against for any reason. It's essential for adults, both at home and at school, to intervene in situations where discriminatory speech or mistreatment occurs. This way, the development of systematic bullying can be prevented," Haapakangas states.

Clear Rules and Shared Understanding

The rules for addressing various situations must be well-known to all members of the school community, and it's important to involve both children and parents in their formulation.

"Operational equality and equity planning form the foundation for the fight against bullying, discrimination, and harassment. To succeed, this requires sustained discussions about values and the practical implementation of mutually agreed-upon principles. The realization of children's rights, such as the right to a safe learning environment and participation, is the responsibility of adults, whether at home or at school," adds Haapakangas.

This marks the 33rd year of declaring School Peace. This year's declaration will take place at Taanila School in Ylivieska. The national declaration event will be held on Wednesday, August 23, from 12:00 to 13:00. The event can be streamed live on Yle Areena.

Promoting School Peace among Parents

The Finnish Parents' Association is organizing a School Peace Parents' Night on Wednesday, August 23, at 18:00 at Taanila School. The theme of the evening is the well-being of children and youth in school. The event is open to all parents and school staff and can also be attended online.

A Celebration of Diversity and Unity

The School Peace declaration event will feature a reading of the students' School Peace declaration, student performances, and a special musical performance by singer Aliisa Syrjä. Additionally, a video message from the President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö, will be presented. The event will begin on August 23, 2023, at 12:00 at Taanila School (Opinportti 1) and will last about an hour. The event will be livestreamed and watched in schools across the country. The livestream of the School Peace declaration event will be available on Yle Areena, with a link provided on the School Peace website,