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PUNISHMENT

Preschool worker ‘locked children in the dryer’

A former pre-school employee in Borås in western Sweden is facing charges of molestation for a series of offences, including punishing young children by locking them in a drying cupboard and pulling their hair.

Preschool worker 'locked children in the dryer'

According to prosecutors, the woman, who is in her 60s, forced three young boys into the dryer and a fourth into the nursery school safe, the local Borås Tidning (BT) newspaper reported.

On other occasions, she also allegedly held her hand over a crying girl’s mouth to keep the child quiet and violently shook her pram.

All of the children involved were apparently between one and three at at the time of the incidents.

Following the initial accusations, which came to light last spring, a manager within the municipality filed a police report and the woman was suspended from work pending further investigations.

However, following negotiations between her union and the municipality she was not fired, due of a lack of proof of any violence taking place.

Nevertheless, prosecutors have decided to file charges against the woman.

“My opinion is that this way of reprimanding children goes beyond the limits of what is permissible and acceptable”, chief prosecutor Daniel Edsbagge told the newspaper.

As soon as the accusations became known,parents of the children were called to a meeting during which they received information about what had happened.

Nevertheless, parents remained uneasy about how long it took between the time of the alleged incidents and when they learned about them.

“The fact that it happened this spring and we only found out about it now in late fall, feels uncomfortable. I hope we find out what’s happening in the future,” a parent who has a child at the pre-school involved in the case told the newspaper in November.

The woman, who continues to deny all charges, is still officially employed within child care, although she is currently on sick leave, nor is she allowed to return to work at the school where the alleged incidents took place.

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PHOTOGRAPHY

Gothenburg preschools end school photography

Preschool managers in Gothenburg have decided to ban class photos at preschools in their municipality, citing the different financial situations of families as one reason for the change.

Gothenburg preschools end school photography
Moments like these are a thing of the past for Gothenburg preschoolers. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

This past spring preschool managers on the municipality district committee of Askim-Frölunda-Högsbo made the decision to halt school photography at preschools in the area. Parents were notified of the decision this week. 

"For many years we have had professional photographers come to the school and photograph the children, individually and in groups, so parents can buy the pictures," Eva-Lena Båth, area director for the preschools, told The Local on Thursday.

"But this is a service we will no longer offer, as we have concluded that photography is a service not included in our educational duties." 

But there were other reasons as well.

"Not all parents can afford to purchase the pictures. It's nothing obligatory, but it can be interpreted that way," Båth said, citing the schools' equal treatment policy. 

While Båth stressed that many parents were pleased with the change, other voices arose expressing dissent.

"It's sad for the kids, who think it's a lot of fun to get pictures with their classmates," mum Sandra Langsrud told paper Göteborgs Posten.

Langsrud said she believed it was an important right for the children to have pictures to remember their time in school.

"They enjoy looking at those pictures later," she said. 

But certain pictures will still be available, Båth pointed out. The preschools have an online portal documenting their activities, and all parents have access to it. Teachers are already in the habit of photographing children during daily activities.

"The site documents our work, so parents can see pictures of their children anyway," Båth said. 

The decision applies only to preschools in the area, with Båth explaining that the issue may not have come up in other schools' discussions.

"We don't work together on all issues," Båth told The Local. "But at the preschools, photography becomes a lot of work for the teaching staff as well. So the schools will be simpler this way."

This summer a school in central Sweden made headlines for banning all photography at school, even of friends and classmates at class graduation. 

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