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Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

ft-seinajoki-mapSchool peace was declared in Seinäjoki on Tuesday morning.

The theme of the year is “everyone matters.”

“Do expensive clothes make someone better than others?” Does being popular or doing well in school make a person superior to everyone else?” the students asked while reading the declaration out loud at Seinäjoki Arena, to a crowd of 5,500 students from different schools in the area.

“No,” they continued, “because everyone matters.”

The declaration stated that differences should be respected. “This means that no one is discriminated because of any reason.”

Different theme days will be organized in schools across the country to put the declaration in practice.

“If every student aimed at being honest, helpful, fair to others, listening, loving, kind and reliable, the schools would be better places and everyone could feel being worthy. If everyone in their part made sure not to bully others there would be no bullying.” “No one should be treated differently because of their language or skin colour. No one should be discriminated for being different.”

To stop bullying, the students had even asked advice from President Sauli Niinistö, and the interview was shown on a video on the big screen.

President encouraged students to develop their self-esteem.

“I have a feeling that often, a low self-esteem is a dominating factor in bullying. If you ask the bully, why you were teasing, he is likely to be speechless.”

Some of the students shared their thoughts about bullying in a bulletin:

“In my opinion, school peace is about that everyone would have a friend and no one would be teased. Being alone, for example during the recess, would be terrible. Friends affect a lot to how you enjoy yourself at school,” said Saara Aila, a fifth grader.

The event was arranged by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, Folkhälsan, Finnish National Board of Education, police and the Finnish Parents’ League.

Students from various schools arranged the program, and it included performances by pop artist Benjamin and the stunt group The Dudesons.