Preschool teacher locked toddlers in dryer

A former preschool teacher who locked several young children in a drying cupboard was convicted on Wednesday by a court in western Sweden for assaults against a number of toddlers.

Preschool teacher locked toddlers in dryer

The woman, who is in her sixties, was accused of trapping three young boys in a dryer after they had been playing in it.

On another occasion, she locked one of the three in the school’s safe, the local Borås Tidningen (BT) newspaper reported.

She had also allegedly covered the mouth of a crying one-year-old girl and hit another child on the head before pulling the youngster’s hair.

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

While the teacher continued to maintain her innocence, the District Court in Borås on Wednesday nevertheless found her guilty of child abuse.

She was handed a suspended sentence and fine 6,000 kronor ($880).

The woman was also ordered to pay 10,000 kronor in damages to each of the families of the three children she locked in the dryer and 7,000 kronor to the family of another child.

The teacher’s hard-handed tactics were eventually reported to school administrators by concerned colleagues last spring.

In January, prosecutors finally filed charges over assaults.

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

Despite the guilty verdict, the woman denied having committed any crime, alleging that she had been the victim of a conspiracy hatched by her colleagues in a bid to have her fired.

But the court found that the account provided by other employees at the preschool was credible and that there was “no reason” they would have accused the woman of something she hadn’t done, according to the Expressen newspaper.

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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.