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Elite Swedish school faces fine over hazing

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Elite Swedish school faces fine over hazing
13:15 CEST+02:00
The Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) has told the prestigious boarding school Lundsberg that it will impose a 500,000 kronor ($75,000) fine if it doesn't act to stamp out the practice of bullying and violence among pupils.

"All pupils have an inalienable right to a safe school environment. Vulnerable pupils at a boarding school are in a particularly difficult situation, as they can't just go home," said Ann-Marie Begler at the Schools Inspectorate in a statement.

The Inspectorate expressed dissatisfaction at the action taken by Lundsberg to stamp out the practice, known as hazing, whereby older pupils discipline younger pupils, often with the used of violence and humiliating treatment.

"Pupils at Lundberg School are still being exposed to demeaning treatment, despite prior criticism from the Schools Inspectorate," the agency concluded.

After the conclusion of an investigation into revelations of institutionalized bullying at the school in November 2011, the Inspectorate gave the school until February 28th 2012 to prove they could stamp out the practice.

On Friday the agency decided to impose the threat of a 500,000 kronor fine in order to encourage the school to accelerate its work to address the problems.

"We assume that those responsible for Lundsberg School, faced with the risk of having to pay a fine, will now effectively prevent and tackle all forms of degrading treatment of pupils," Begler stated.

The Schools Inspectorate's report confirmed witness testimony from former pupils and staff of an existing tradition of widespread bullying.

The agency described in its report how the principal and the teachers had failed to deal with the situation.

The principal admitted that there is a pecking order at the school and that it is important for the students to work their way up through the hierarchy in order gain use of a ”slave” themselves.

Lundsberg, along with the other two national boarding schools - Grennaskolan and Sigtuna Humanistiska Läroverk - are different from other schools in Sweden as they receive their permit from the government and not the Schools Inspectorate.

This means that ultimately it is the government's responsibility to decide on the future of Lundsberg.

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