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SCHOOL

Swedish student burned by iron in hazing attack

A student at the prestigious Swedish boarding school Lundsberg in central Sweden was attacked and burned with an iron by nine other students during a "hazing" ritual on Saturday, the latest in a long line of bullying incidents at the elite school.

Swedish student burned by iron in hazing attack

The attack, which occurred at the school, has been labelled by police as aggravated assault. The Swedish Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) stated on Monday that the attackers had used an iron.

The student, who is new to the school, has been shifted to three different hospitals since Saturday, although his injuries have been described as minor.

In October, the Swedish Schools Inspectorate told the school that it will impose a 500,000 kronor ($75,000) fine if it didn’t act to stamp out the practice of bullying and violence among pupils.

The school, which is the alma mater of Prince Carl Philip and many other high society members, has had a bad track record with students assaulting others in hazing rituals.

In May last year, students at the school spoke out after being forced into oral sex and eating manure.

In 2011, a student had their nipples burned with an electric fly swatter.

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.

TT/The Local/og

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EDUCATION

Distance learning remains a ‘possibility’ for Swedish schools: Education minister

Remote learning remains a possibility, but not an obligation, for schools in Sweden as students around the country begin term this week, the Education Minister said on Wednesday.

Distance learning remains a 'possibility' for Swedish schools: Education minister
Education Minister Anna Ekström (L) and general director of the Schools Inspectorate, Helén Ängmo. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Minister Anna Ekström made the comments during a press conference in which she outlined the rules ahead of back-to-school season but did not make any new announcements.

She urged schools to be “flexible”, outlining some of the measures which have been recommended by the National Board of Education since an early stage in the pandemic.

This include changing furniture arrangements to promote distancing, staggering lesson and break times to prevent students mixing in large groups, and increasing cleaning. Many parent-teacher meetings are likely to be cancelled, she said.

Schools for under-16s have remained open throughout the pandemic, and Ekström said this decision was based on research showing children were affected by the virus to a lesser extent. “The younger the child, the more mild the symptoms,” she said.

In Sweden, only one of the almost 6,000 people to have died after testing positive for the coronavirus was aged under 10, and none of the victims have been in the 10-19 age group.

Ekström added that no occupational group linked to schools had been over-represented in Sweden's coronavirus statistics.

In addition to taking this kind of measures, heads of schools have also been given additional decision-making powers.

These include the ability to switch to remote learning, or make other changes such as adapting the timetable (including moving lessons to weekends) if necessary due to the infection situation. 

“If the situation gets worse, teaching can be moved partially or entirely to distance learning. This could happen in the whole country, individual schools, or in municipalities or regions where schools may need to close as a measure to prevent spread of infection,” Ekström said.

“The government is prepared to take measures, but we don't want to close schools.”

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