• Sweden's news in English

One in 30 students has had a relationship with a teacher

10 Feb 2013, 10:14

Published: 10 Feb 2013 10:14 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Out of 600 high school students who participated in a survey by the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, 20 said they have had a sexual or romantic relationship with a teacher, with one percent claiming they are still in such a relationship.

Two percent said they have classmates who are in a sexual relationship with a teacher.

Five per cent, or 32 students, know or have heard of students in other classes or schools who are in relationships with teachers.

Around 80 percent of Swedes attend high school (gymnasium), which is not compulsory and corresponds to grades 10 to 12.

The law says that someone who persuades another person to engage in a sexual act by seriously taking advantage of that person's position of dependency should face up to two years in prison. However, the deed must constitute a clear abuse of power.

"The law could be better and clearer," said Kristina Huldt, a lawyer with experience of handling sexual abuse cases.

"As it stands, evidence is required that the teacher in question persuaded the pupil. That can be hard to prove," said Huldt.

For Gisele Priebe, a psychologist and researcher at Lund University, the problem is not whether sexual relations between teachers and pupils are illegal or not.

"Even if the pupil and teacher are in love 'for real' and there is no pressure involved, it is still a question of power imbalance. It is very hard, if not impossible, in these instances to have a relationship where both people's wishes and opinions count as much."

The Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) did not want to comment on Svenska Dagbladet's findings.

"We have no direct views on this. The National Agency for Education does not have a position on this issue… This is a political issue," said Eva Röyter, a lawyer at the Agency.

The Teachers' Ethical Council (Lärarnas yrkesetiska råd), which is tasked with encouraging a continuing debate on work ethics and with promoting professional ethics among teachers, did not want to take a stand on the issue, either.

Story continues below…

"You can't ban love. The fact that there is attraction is not strange, but we have to think about how we handle it," said Jesper Rehn of the Teachers' Ethical Council.

Rehn does not believe legislation is the way forward or that the Council should publish guidelines for how to deal with the issue.

Asked whose role it is to draw up such guidelines, Rehn replied: "That's a good question. I don't know."

The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:26 February 10, 2013 by calebian22
"You can't ban love."

That is an odd response. I wonder what skeletons would be found in Rehn's closet?
12:41 February 10, 2013 by just a question
I strongly doubt that what the students have told is true.

Seriously, I don't think that this is true. Students will do and say whatever to ridicule the teachers.
15:01 February 10, 2013 by Frobobbles
I don't believe that, for every 100 students, there are 3 teachers who has relations with some of them. Rather, for every 1000 students, there's this teacher who is involved with 30 pupils.
17:31 February 10, 2013 by theobserver
Some students will do anything in order to get good grades. What they should realize is that, in Sweden, they don't have to offer sex to achieve this. The Swedish system is made in a way that all students pass and graduate, no matter how poor they are. So if you are a student reading this, please don't offer sex to your teacher. You don't have to do that,. Sweden has made sure that you will graduate in any case.
13:09 February 12, 2013 by geoff44
If true and not simply pupil hype, it is a little alarming to feel that some teachers think they can have a 'mature' relationship in these circumstances.Of course, it would be surprising if that is what they actually seek. However, more surprising is to learn that this is a 'political issue' according to the NAE.Not a moral issue.not an ethical issue. a 'political issue'.
17:46 February 15, 2013 by james_g
@ calebian22 - what's odd about "You can't ban love" - it's a simple statement of fact! What sort of mind instinctively reacts with thoughts of closeted skeletons...?

@ geoff44 - you should bear in mind that (in the UK at least - not sure about here in Sweden) it's quite possible for a 22 year old teacher to be teaching an 18 year old student, in which case (and even with slightly larger age differences) the ethical constraints might well be overridden, however regrettably, by the hormones! I also don't see why you should sneeringly express disbelief in the possibility that, at least occasionally, a 'mature' relationship IS what both parties are after and, indeed, sometimes attain! Yes there are plenty of instances where this is not the case, but WHY always be ready to think or expect the worst...?
15:21 March 1, 2013 by Exolon
@calebian22 "That is an odd response. I wonder what skeletons would be found in Rehn's closet?"

That is an odd response. I wonder what skeletons would be found in your closet?
02:30 March 7, 2013 by bradalreadyinuse
That is a lot of students; has anyone calculated how many? No, wait..that is a lot of tired teachers .....it is probably normal for students to fantasize about their teachers. I would not take it too seriously. Ask yourself how many times you have been honest answering a survey ... ;-) Everyone knows who the real child abusers are because there are no secrets in the long run, thank GOD!

This is the math: Wikipedia sez there are about 1.2 - 1.3 million primary and secondary students. One in thirty works out to 43K students +/-...that's a lot 'o children...hard to believe...if they have parents, that is in excess of 80K people complaining, not to mention besteforeldre (sorry for the Norsk) . Ok, I've excluded the clones, alien insemination and "spontaneous" conceptions. Cheers ;-)
Today's headlines
'I want to see women priests in the Catholic Church'
Archbishop Antje Jackelén meeting Pope Francis earlier in 2016. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano/AP

'I told the pope last year during a speech it is time to no longer speak for women about women, but to speak with women,' Sweden's Archbishop says.

Sweden one of world's easiest places to do business: report
A meeting at a Stockholm office. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

It is easier to do business in Sweden now than it was last year, according to a World Bank report.

This Swede has built a procrastinator's dream
Anders Åberg has built a website that allows you to hear what’s going on above the Earth. Photo: Personal & NASA

Ever wondered what's going on in the sky above the earth and in space? Now you can hear for yourself.

Presented by Malmö Tourism
Seven reasons why Malmö is the football capital of Sweden
Players from FC Rosengård, Sweden's most successful women's football team. Photo: Hangsna

It’s official, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.

Fake police car driver seized after confronting real police
File photo of a police car. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Three men in a fake police car were left red-faced after they tried to stop a man in southern Sweden who turned out to be an off-duty officer.

This tiny bird can fly for ten months straight: scientists
The common swift while not in flight. Photo: Madis Veskimeister/Wikimedia

Swedish scientists have found that this bird stays in the air for almost a year without landing.

Why the Pope is visiting Sweden next week
Pope Francis in the Vatican. Photo: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

Pope to nail reconciliation agenda to Lutherans' door in southern Sweden.

The Local Recipes
How to make no-knead sourdough bread like a Swede
No-knead sourdough bread. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Swedes love their sourdough bread. Food writer John Duxbury shares his favourite Swedish recipe for a no-knead loaf.

Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Forgotten Ingmar Bergman script to be made into a film
It's thought the script was part of an ill-fated collaboration between Bergman (left) and Federico Fellini (right). Photo: AP

Written in 1969, the script is 'up to the standard of his best', according to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available