Principal spied on pupils with hidden camera

A principal at a middle school in south central Sweden has admitted to secretly installing a surveillance camera after it was discovered by a group of students.

Principal spied on pupils with hidden camera

Students from Kronoberg School in Växjö were examining a small hole in the ceiling of a student break room when they discovered a small camera behind it, the local Smålandsposten newspaper reported.

The students promptly contacted the school’s principal, Niklas Möller.

“At first he blamed the janitor, but then he really started blushing,” a student told the newspaper.

Eventually, Möller confessed that he was the one who had installed the hidden camera.

He defended his actions by explaining that he had set up the surveillance device in order to figure out who was uploading pornographic images on the break room’s computers.

“If you want to talk about an invasion of privacy, the fact of the matter is that a 12-year-old girl has been forced to see homosexual material,” Möller told the newspaper.

He added, however, that he felt his actions were justified saying he was “aware of the risk”.

“It was to protect the majority, so that the kids can have their computers and so that the girls don’t have to see graphic pornographic images,” said Möller.

When asked why he at first lied to the students about who installed the camera, Möller claimed he was simply “joking with them a little bit”.

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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.”