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BOARDING SCHOOL SCANDAL

BULLYING

‘I was forced to eat manure’: ex-student

Former students of prestigious Swedish boarding school Lundsberg have shared tales of "Lord of the Flies" bullying including forced oral sex and eating manure amid a battle over the school's refusal to acknowledge certain claims.

'I was forced to eat manure': ex-student

Speaking with Sveriges Television (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning, former students detailed years of violent abuse and bullying at the hands of fellow students.

One student, Jan-Åke, told of being kicked so hard that his anus split, leaving him incontinent for the rest of his life.

He also suffered hearing loss after having a rifle fired close to his ear.

“I’ve never cried as much as I did at Lundsberg,” he told the SVT programme, which documents decades of student-on-student abuse at the elite boarding school, the alma mater of Prince Carl Philip and a host of other members of Swedish high-society.

Last November, the school, located in rural Värmland in western Sweden, was reported to police over allegations that a student had his nipples burned as part of an elaborate and controversial “peer education” system whereby older students are tasked with educating younger ones.

The practice has been part of the Lundsberg experience for decades and when several examples were brought to the attention of vice principal Stefan Kristoffersen, he approached the school’s board of trustees, but no action was taken.

In one anonymous letter sent to Kristoffersen, a student told of being orderd to “eat manure”. He also said other students forced him to perform oral sex as part of an initiation ritual.

“Peer education is a bit like ‘Lord of the Flies’. When the lights go off, these tendencies get activated in student living quarters,” he told SVT.

Kristoffersen presented several letters to the school’s leadership detailing student abuse, but no action was taken, prompting him to resign in protest.

The school has also refused to pay compensation to a student who enrolled in 2009 and was subsequently bullied while at Lundsberg.

Despite an order by Sweden’s Child and School Student Representative (Barn- och elevombudet – BEO) that the school pay the student 178,400 kronor ($24,700) in damages for the abuse he suffered, the school’s leadership rebuffed the decision, claiming the boy “exaggerated” his claims.

Founded in 1896, Lundsberg was inspired by British boarding school tradition and currently has an enrollment of around 200 students, around 60 percent of which are boys.

The SVT investigation is set to broadcast at 8pm on Wednesday night.

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SCHOOLS

‘Sweden’s Eton’ probed after new abuse claims

Sweden's Schools Inspectorate has demanded answers from Sweden's most elite boarding school, after one or more pupils were reported to the local police for alleged sex crimes.

'Sweden's Eton' probed after new abuse claims
Lundsbergs School is in Värmland,a three-hour drive west of Stockholm. Photo: Johanr/Wikimedia Commons
Lundsbergs Boarding School counts Sweden’s Prince Carl Phillip and the scions of some the country’s richest families among its alumni, earning it the title “Sweden’s Eton”. 
 
But the school has repeatedly faced accusations of severe bullying, with the Schools Inspectorate ordering it to be shut down in 2013 following allegations that boys were burned with hot irons by older pupils.
 
According to “unconfirmed information” published in Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper, the police investigation launched this week relates to a secretly filmed sex tape showing sexual abuse of female pupils. 
 
Björn Persson, acting head for the Swedish Schools Inspectorate's investigations wing in Gothenburg confirmed to Sweden’s TT newswire that he had been in contact with the school. 
 
“We have had telephone contact with the headmaster after which we decided to request a written report. We want them to explain what happened and what remedies have been taken,” Persson said.
 
According to Aftonbladet school staff reported one or more pupils to the police.
 
“I can confirm that we have received such notification and that it applies to several plaintiffs,” Anders Forsman of the local Värmland police told the newspaper. “It is the school management who made the complaint and it concerns incidents that are further back in time, but have been revealed now. This is not something which has happened this year.”
 
However, Aftonbladet newspaper reported on Thursday that a pupil had been hit with a belt, although the school’s headmaster Johan Harryson said this had been exaggerated. 
 
“Two students got into a serious disagreement with one another and we have sent one home for unacceptable verbal attacks. A belt was waved around, and there was contact with the belt at one point, but according to the victim the fright was the main thing.”
 
Harryson, who was appointed in 2014 to draw a line under the school’s problems, said the turnaround was still a work in progress. 
 
“We have worked extremely determinedly to make sure such things no longer happen, but we’re not there yet” he told TT. “It simply behoves us to keep working at it.” 
 
Sweden’s Schools Inspectorate in 2011 roundly condemned the school in a report claiming that younger pupils were regularly humiliated and abused by their seniors, with little attempt from the school's management to intervene.