Swedish drama college rapped for school porn scandal

Dramatiska Institutet (University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre) has been harshly criticised over its role in February's "porn scandal" in which a group of 6 year old pupils were exposed to pornographic material read from a novel as part of an arts project.

Nevertheless, the report prepared by the former Liberal Party leader, Bengt Westerberg, supports the continuation of the compromised children’s theatre project. The student who read the lascivious text dodged disciplinary action.

In January the class from a Nacka school was read a pornographic text while being filmed, in connection with an assigned project by DI on the theme “body, love and sexuality”.

The probing investigation, self-commissioned by DI, laid the blame on the lack of sufficient supervision and guidance by the institute of the student group who used the sexually explicit text.

“[The choice of text] was unsuitable and lacked sound judgement,” stated Bengt Westerberg.

He continued, “The text was explicit, it was read before a class required to participate, there was no preparatory discussion, no preparation of how to manage the situation after the fact and was without consideration of the probable parental reaction.”

According to Dagens Nyheter, Westerberg concluded that DI was “a school in crisis” yet could take appropriate actions in order to eventually repair its reputation.

Westerberg added, “It would be regrettable if the children’s project, a part of the institute’s curriculum, were put on ice; or that work with controversial topics discontinued; or that the debate over the deterioration of sexual education in schools were to discontinue.”

“A serious mistake has been made, but no one has been harmed. After discussions with several child psychologists it is my opinion that the reaction of the parents is the true risk of injury, not the reading itself,” explained Bengt Westerberg.

In connection with Westerberg’s report, an internal disciplinary investigation was conducted by DI. The decision was to take no disciplinary action against the student who read the text.

“The criticism is sharp, but it is also constructive. Personally it feels as if I have emerged from a dark cellar into a bright room,” said Per Lysander, the head of DI.

Lysander emphasized that a number of changes and improvements in line with those recommended in Bengt Westerberg’s report have already been implemented. An example is that written documentation is required on all final decisions, even at lower levels.

Svenska Dagbladet reported that Westerberg feels the children’s theatre projects DI should continue.

The question remains how many of the schools will want to stay involved. According to SvD a number of the 11 schools and pre-schools originally part of the project have said that they do not expect to work with DI again.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, SR