Swedish school rocked by daytime stabbing

Two people were arrested Monday afternoon following the stabbing of a 19-year-old man in connection with a fight at a high school in southern Sweden.

Swedish school rocked by daytime stabbing

Another 19-year-old man was arrested on Monday afternoon suspected of attempted murder for the stabbing, which took place at Österänggymnasiet in Kristianstad.

Later in the day, a 40-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of being an accomplice to attempted murder.

The 19-year-old victim is in serious condition, but his wounds aren’t considered to be life threatening.

“He is seriously injured but is able to speak, from what I understand,” Skåne police spokesperson Calle Persson told the TT news agency.

Police arrived at the school shortly after 2pm following a call about a fight. Upon arrival, they found the injured 19-year-old victim.

The fight broke out adjacent to the school’s maintenance office in an area that served as a makeshift student lounge.

“There were a lot of students present when the perpetrator came up from behind and stabbed the 19-year-old in the back or neck,” student assistant Hany Isleem told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Police interrogated a number of witnesses on Monday afternoon and were able to arrest the perpetrator within hours of the attack.

But the mood at the school remained subdued following the incident.

“The students are sad and upset,” principal Jenny Comstedt told the Expressen newspaper.

“They’ve been seen to by the school nurse and other staff. We’ve acted in line with the school’s emergency plan and made sure that there is someone to take care of them when they get home.”

It remains unclear what sparked the fight.

Just over a week ago a 17-year-old student was stabbed at a high school in Vallentuna north of Stockholm. The student was stabbed when he was on his way in to the school.

He was seriously injured and remained sedated for a day following the attack.

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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.”