The first court settlement after the so-called “bullying case in Drangedal” is going to court this week.
It was tough experiences growing up that were highlighted when Cecilie Haugen met Drangedal municipality in court on Monday.
But what has really been decisive for Haugen’s medical problems as an adult? It will be the big discussion in courtroom 9 in Telemark District Court.
Tough depictions from childhood
– It is good to finally get started with this case. It is a great relief for Cecilie, says process assistant Renate Lia. She and colleague Johannes Kleppe represent Haugen in the case.
Haugen is currently disabled, and believes Drangedal municipality can be blamed for Bostrak school and Drangedal ungdomsskole not intervening to prevent what she experienced as repeated cases of bullying growing up.
Haugen demands a scant 2.3 million in compensation from the municipality. In addition, NOK 250,000 in other expenses in connection with the case, and that the other party also pays her legal costs.
Believes illness is due to bullying at school
Haugen has struggled with major mental challenges.
Her treating psychologist has diagnosed complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and that it is most likely caused by bullying at school, according to her lawyers.
Psychologist Hans Ole Korsgaard has also concluded that Haugen has developed (PTSD) and that this is due to bullying since she was around 11 years old.
In her introductory speech, lawyer Lia referred to many painful incidents her client has recounted from everyday school life in her home municipality of Drangedal:
- Ice balls that were thrown at her by classmates at primary school, so that her glasses were destroyed.
- Freezing in the schoolyard.
- Shit throwing on the school bus.
- In middle school, Haugen has said that she received ugly notes sent from fellow students in the classroom.
- She often sought refuge in the bathroom during her free time to find peace. When she went out, she was almost always left alone, without anyone wanting to play or talk to her, she said.
– The school has not addressed the bullying that Cecilie has been exposed to, Lia believes.
Believes other factors come into play
Drangedal municipality is represented by process assistant Terje Marthinsen.
– The municipality does not take liability for damages in the sense that it believes the conditions for tort law have been met, he says to NRK.
Marthinsen believes that he can present evidence that there are other conditions than what has happened at the school that have come into play with Haugen’s mental ailments in mind.
Among other things, incidents in the home, in connection with Cecilie Haugen’s mother and father separating before she started school.
A period the municipality believes it can document that has been very tough.
Thoresen also referred to several documented examples of the municipality following up several of the bullying warnings from the Haugen family that came in at different times.
The municipality also believes that it has not been proven that Haugen has developed PTSD.
– There is nothing in the records that shows the occurrence of post-traumatic symptoms, the lawyer said.
He also points out that Lars Weisæth, professor and trauma psychiatrist, has assessed the case.
– He has concluded that there is no PTSD in this case, Thoresen says to NRK.
Cecilie’s mother: – That’s a big shame
Cecilie Haugen’s mother, Unni Anita Haugen, does not recognize that her daughter was having a hard time at home. She will also testify in the case later this week.
– I am disappointed with the municipality that goes and says that, and puts the blame on us. It is a great shame, she says to NRK.
She believes the municipality should rather go by itself, and supports the daughter’s experience of what happened at school.
– The municipality should do something about the bullying at school. They should have taken it up and done things differently during school hours, as I suggested several times, she tells NRK.
Cecilie Haugen concentrated on what was presented by the parties during the first day of the trial.
On Tuesday, she will give an explanation in court.