Swedish school in million kronor bullying lawsuit

A school in western Sweden has been sued for almost a million kronor ($160,000) by four families who claim that not enough has been done to help bullied children.

“I have never before seen a school so unwilling to help when a child feels vulnerable,” one of the parents Peter Axelsson told Sveriges Radio (SR).

The Casa dei Bambini Monterssori school, which is independently run by a board of trustees, has been accused of both ignoring the indications that bullying was taking place, but also to have actively worked against parents and students trying to resolve the situation.

Usually bullying cases are handled between the Child-and-Student Ombudsman (Barn- och elevombudet-BEO) and the management of the school, in this case the trustees.

The BEO has investigated the cases at the school and has directed criticism in one of them, but dismissed the others as they occurred too long ago. The parents thus decided to act to file a private lawsuit against the school.

According to the parents’ lawyer the case is extraordinary as it involves a school, which should be concerned with its reputation and four students who feel they have been treated appallingly for a long period of time, alleging that they received no help at all from the school.

“If you look at the lawsuit you see that the children have been subjected to grave violations over a long period of time. It would be reasonable to expect the school to have acted upon it. But they did nothing,” lawyer Jörgen Frisk told SR.

Peter Axelsson’s daughter attended the school in 2006.

“The more we demanded that they do something about it, the more they pushed the blame over to her. She felt terrible, lost weight, couldn’t sleep and had constant headaches,” he told SR.

At the school they don’t agree that they fail to act on bullying.

“Generally, I think that we work very much with these issues at the school. We think that it is vital and we welcome the examination of these cases,” said the principal Marie Rydberg to SR.

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