Young man arrested over school threat

A 21-year-old man has been arrested in connection with threats made against a school in Eskilstuna in central Sweden on Wednesday.

Young man arrested over school threat

The man admitted threatening to fire shots at St. Eskils high school but said it was intended as a joke.

All pupils at the school were evacuated at lunch time on Wednesday following threats of a shooting.

Police took the threats seriously and sent a number of units to the school.

“Threats have been made on a website where somebody said they would travel there by train, go to the school and that shots will then be fired,” police spokesman Hans-Erik Åkerlund told Aftonbladet.

Police said in a statement that all 1,250 pupils and 50 teachers were to be evacuated from the school. The pupils were informed of the situation at midday and sent home.

The anonymous person or people behind the threats had said the attack would be carried out at 10am.

Management at the school was informed of the threats against an individual pupil at 10am. The school principal’s name was also mentioned on the website in question, said Eskilstuna’s local council in a statement.

The principal and the police are set to make a decision later in the day as to whether the pupils can return to school on Thursday.


Distance learning remains a ‘possibility’ for Swedish schools: Education minister

Remote learning remains a possibility, but not an obligation, for schools in Sweden as students around the country begin term this week, the Education Minister said on Wednesday.

Distance learning remains a 'possibility' for Swedish schools: Education minister
Education Minister Anna Ekström (L) and general director of the Schools Inspectorate, Helén Ängmo. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Minister Anna Ekström made the comments during a press conference in which she outlined the rules ahead of back-to-school season but did not make any new announcements.

She urged schools to be “flexible”, outlining some of the measures which have been recommended by the National Board of Education since an early stage in the pandemic.

This include changing furniture arrangements to promote distancing, staggering lesson and break times to prevent students mixing in large groups, and increasing cleaning. Many parent-teacher meetings are likely to be cancelled, she said.

Schools for under-16s have remained open throughout the pandemic, and Ekström said this decision was based on research showing children were affected by the virus to a lesser extent. “The younger the child, the more mild the symptoms,” she said.

In Sweden, only one of the almost 6,000 people to have died after testing positive for the coronavirus was aged under 10, and none of the victims have been in the 10-19 age group.

Ekström added that no occupational group linked to schools had been over-represented in Sweden's coronavirus statistics.

In addition to taking this kind of measures, heads of schools have also been given additional decision-making powers.

These include the ability to switch to remote learning, or make other changes such as adapting the timetable (including moving lessons to weekends) if necessary due to the infection situation. 

“If the situation gets worse, teaching can be moved partially or entirely to distance learning. This could happen in the whole country, individual schools, or in municipalities or regions where schools may need to close as a measure to prevent spread of infection,” Ekström said.

“The government is prepared to take measures, but we don't want to close schools.”