Vandalism prompts Malmö school closure

Plans to shut down the senior part of Hermodsdal school in Malmö have prompted the Liberals to request an extra parliamentary debate on the problem of discipline in Swedish schools.

“In Malmö a gang of troublemakers has dictated the decision. It’s unacceptable,” said the Liberal Party’s Jan Björklund.

The proposal to close the high school with 200 students, which was put forward during the Easter break, was due to “lack of security, vandalism and poor study results”. The school has been vandalised several times and in January part of it was damaged in an arson attack.

The idea is that there will be more investment in the younger children in the area through a new primary school, while the older pupils will be placed in other schools.

“It’s the first time a school in Sweden has been closed because it is too rowdy,” said Jan Björklund, who sees the decision as giving in to discipline problems. He described it as collective punishment, which has affected the innocent.

“It’s the troublemakers who destroy and bully who should be removed,” he said, complaining that education laws do not allow for such measures.

The plans have also been criticised locally in Malmö. Students, parents and teachers are protesting and a general meeting will be held on Tuesday. The closure has also been remarked upon abroad.

“I have just been called up by a German paper because of a similar case in Berlin,” said the Social Democrat councillor Christer Brandt.

Brandt said he was surprised by the force of the protest but saw it as something positive. Perhaps, he said, the closure has created a community feeling towards the school.

It is not clear that the high school will be closed immediately. Three alternatives will be discussed when the council meets on May 9th – a quick closure, closure in two years, or keeping the high school.

“But clearly something needs to be done,” said Christer Brandt.

TT/The Local