17 In the days that follow, Leander engages in conversations with numerous local politicians, and each one pledges to support his cause.
“NRK Sheds Spotlight on Gifted Children’s Cause: Leander and County Mayor Take on Education Legislation”
Norway’s national broadcaster, NRK, brings Leander’s cause to the forefront.
They create a significant piece on gifted children and how he, along with the County Mayor, is working towards amending the Education Act.
NRK puts Minister of Education Tonje Brenna on the spot, pressing for answers.
They note that she avoids directly addressing NRK’s questions regarding Leander’s plea to amend the Education Act.
At the same time, she assures NRK that she wants to meet with Leander alongside Thomassen to discuss the proposed legislation.
The story gained widespread attention in national media, including newspapers, television, and radio broadcasts.
After school, Leander eagerly arrives at the office where he is scheduled to meet County Mayor Arne Thomassen, a highly popular and experienced politician and leader.
It’s election season, and he travels for hours each day, with a jam-packed schedule. But for him, Leander is the top priority, and any other commitments must take a back seat.
They have a fantastic meeting that concludes with an agreement to jointly advocate for changes in legislation. This sets in motion a plan.
After the meeting with Erna, things start to pick up momentum. A new meeting is scheduled, this time with County Mayor Arne Thomassen. Now, it’s time to address the Education Act! We will come back to this.
The phone is constantly buzzing with people eager to speak with Leander and support his cause. Fiona from TV 2 diligently documents the situation. She closely follows us and is passionately engaged in his cause.
Now, everyone wants to talk to Leander.
We visit the various party booths to investigate what different political parties know about gifted children in schools, whether they are aware of the specifics in the Education Act, and what they plan to do to improve the rights of gifted children in schools.
The findings are not surprising. They know very little about this:
You can watch the interviews where Leander visits the party booths; this will be documented:
Arendalsuka has come to a close for now, the booths are being dismantled, and Leander’s cause has had a truly remarkable beginning.
This is where it all begins. I mentioned we would return to the meeting with the County Mayor; it’s scheduled for Monday.
We gather with the rest of the ChildPress team to celebrate. There’s good food, laughter, and a lot of joy…
Leander has secured a private meeting with none other than Erna Solberg, with an hour allotted for their conversation.
Leander stands there, brimming with anticipation, as he watches hundreds of children and young people cheer and shout when Erna exits the Super News debate. It takes a bit of time because there are long lines of people eager to take a selfie with the popular politician.
Leander’s eyes light up with joy and pride as Erna approaches him, takes him by the hand, and leaves the area with a camera in tow. It’s a proud moment for all of us.
Leander engages in a lengthy and substantive conversation with Erna, during which he truly opens up about his experiences. You can witness the outcome of this discussion in the interview here:
Haagen Poppe, who himself was a gifted child (a local politician for Høyre), also participates in the meeting alongside mayoral candidate Linda Øygaarden.
Leander encounters an enthusiastic politician, Inger Brokka De Reuiter, who is the mayoral candidate for SV (Socialist Left Party) in Arendal. She has been thinking about Leander since the Party Leader Debate on Monday. In their conversation, she warmly shakes Leander’s hand and promises to take up his cause.
On the same day, Inger submits an interpellation to the Mayor for the City Council, demanding answers within 7 days.
Friday is here, and we eagerly gather for the Super News debate, a debate for children featuring all the party leaders.
We meet a range of politicians during the debate.
11. Leander’s Busy Morning: A Chat with the Minister of Education Before His First Day of Middle School
Leander is starting middle school today, at the tender age of 10! Therefore, he has to meet Minister of Education Brenna over FaceTime on his way to school. He’s a busy and hardworking young man! Time is short with Brenna, and they don’t get into the main topic as Leander wants to discuss funding for school books with her. After all, it’s Arendal Week, so what better way to start the day than with an interview before the school day begins!
Later in the Day…
Leander’s first day of school turns out to be a great one. There are no more interviews scheduled for the day, but we thoroughly enjoy the Party Leader Debate in the evening – the highlight of Arendal Week.
Behind the scenes, there is a lot of hard work being done for Leander’s cause, and inquiries are pouring in.
Everyone wants to get involved and help Leander! “Wow! This seems promising,” says Leander. “This is turning into something really significant!” he exclaims.
A happy boy goes to bed content, eagerly anticipating the big day ahead tomorrow.
10. Progress on Leander’s Advocacy Journey: Meeting with Former Prime Minister Erna Solberg in the Works!
Following the meeting with Aasheim, mayoral candidate for Arendal Høyre, Linda Øygaarden, reaches out. She has brought Leander’s case to the highest echelons within the Høyre party. She initiates the process of arranging a meeting for Leander with Erna Solberg, the former Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway for 8 years. Now, things are truly starting to unfold! Leander is overjoyed by this development!
The Meeting with Svein Harberg opened doors for Leander to be heard. We decide that Henrik Aasheim is the right path to pursue now.
We call Henrik, and he answers promptly but informs us that he doesn’t have the time. After a brief conversation, we call him back, explaining the situation thoroughly, emphasizing the importance of speaking with him. Okay, he rearranges an appointment to accommodate us and invites us to meet him and Mathilde Tybring Gjedde at Clarion Hotel Tyholmen at 4:00 PM.
Leander becomes genuinely excited and happy to speak with Henrik Aasheim. You can watch the interview here.
Henrik and Mathilde genuinely take Leander’s thoughts and his personal story seriously. They acknowledge that things shouldn’t be this way, and they express gratitude to Leander for raising this issue. They pledge to work towards bringing about a change. They emphasize the importance of ensuring that students like Leander are well taken care of. During their time in government, they dedicated significant efforts to improving the school experience for students like him. They promise to follow up on Leander’s case, and he feels heard by them, displaying great enthusiasm during the interview
You can watch Leander’s response to the meeting in this video.