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School backtracks on language ban

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10:11 CET+01:00
Staff at Gustav Adolf School in the southern town of Landskrona have now retracted a controversial ban on the use of languages other than Swedish on school premises.

Just days after its introduction the principal has downgraded the ban to a "main rule". Consequently pupils will now be allowed to speak their native languages during breaks.

But, in a new measure, pupils will have to pass two security guards when entering the school.

On Saturday it was revealed that the management of the school had decided that only Swedish could be spoken on school premises. Almost half of the pupils at the school come from an immigrant background.

The ban was introduced following a number of incidents in which staff and pupils felt they had been insulted in languages they did not understand.

Principal Patrik Helgesson explained the new move on the school's website.

"In order for staff at the school to be able to prevent breaches of school regulations, speaking Swedish is to be a main rule," he wrote.

Pupil's will however be permitted to speak their native languages during breaks, provided that staff and other pupils are not excluded from discussions.

"If somebody goes over to a group that is speaking a language that person doesn't understand, it is quite natural to make use of a common language," district manager Lisbeth Månsson told Helsingborgs Dagblad.

Månsson does not think the school has backed down from its previous decision.

"I would prefer to say that we have clarified this part of the regulations," she said.

Apart from tougher language requirements, pupils will now also have to knock on the front door before being let in to the school, according to newspaper Skånska Dagbladet.

The school has decided to place two security guards from the local council for crime prevention inside its main entrance.

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