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RAPE

Pre-teen girl reports rape at Swedish school

Three boys aged 12-13-years-old are suspected of having raped a 10-year-old girl at a school in Linköping in central Sweden.

The alleged assault occurred on Tuesday while the children were on their lunch break in an area of woodland near the school.

The school reported the incident to the council and to the police on Wednesday after the visibly shaken girl told teachers of her ordeal.

“I don’t know if the boys have confessed. The police are investigating the matter now, but we consider this to be a very serious incident,” Thomas Brandin at Linköping council said at press conference held on Tuesday, local newspaper Corren.se reports.

Linköping police have confirmed that the boys have not yet been interviewed and that they have classified the case as rape.

The school has however talked to the boys and confirms that they have admitted the offence, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.

As the boys are under the age of criminal responsibility there will not be a legal consequences as a result of the alleged rape.

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EDUCATION

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.”

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