June 30 2008

Sweden Dictates Childrens Birthday Parties

crying kidIt seems in Sweden you aren’t allowed to dislike any one for any reason, and if you do, someone will cry to the government about it.

Duncan Riley at The Inquisitr wrote up a story this weekend that is just jaw dropping in its oddness.  It seems that an 8-year-old in Sweden has set off a firestorm of controversy over his not inviting two of the kids in his class to his birthday party, while inviting the rest of the class.  The two kids were left out due to one not inviting the original boy to his birthday party, and the other because they had a falling out.

When the teacher saw that two students had been left out, she confiscated all of the invitations and informed him that since he did it during class time, it fell under Sweden’s non-discrimination laws.  According to the original BBC story, when the birthday boy’s father learned of this, he filed a complaint with the parliamentary ombudsman for a ruling, and that is expected to be handed down by September.

I can see where perhaps handing out the invitations during school was a poor choice, but what do you expect from an 8-year-old?  As for it being an act of discrimination, let’s look at the definition of discrimination:

1. an act or instance of discriminating.
2. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
3. the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment: She chose the colors with great discrimination.
4. Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.

Okay, yes, they did belong to a class you could say: Kids This Other Kid Hates.  Again, I can see where it would have been better not to have been done in class, because I’m sure those two kids felt bad not getting invitations, but I think the teacher’s explanation was a bit much that this incident fell under this law.  How do they handle round robin picking of teams in gym class there?  “Okay, you can’t pick any one last because that would be discrimination, so whomever you were going to pick last, pick them first… wait that won’t work either… could someone call parliment to see how we should handle this?”

That is the other thing that amazes me about this whole incident: the parliament is actually going to rule in this. Why didn’t they say, “You know, this is silly, sort it out for yourselves at the school level.” No, the parliament of Sweden is going to actually rule in what boils down to who a child can and can not invite to their birthday party. I think Mr. Riley may have said it best in his article, “We now crown Sweden as the winner of the ultimate nanny state award for 2008…and possibly all time.”

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