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Pupils return to elite Swedish school

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Pupils return to elite Swedish school
11:22 CEST+02:00
A sense of normality returned to scandal-hit Swedish boarding school Lundsberg on Monday with pupils expected to return to classes after a court ruling reversed a decision by the Schools Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) to close it after a hazing incident.

"Today is a normal school day," boarding school head Björn Söderman told the TT news agency.

Söderman spent his morning standing on the steps to the main building welcoming returning students, among whom were Gabriella, who declined to give her last name.

"I had a plan B, but it would be very difficult to start in a new school now. I graduate in 240 days," she said. "What happened is not okay, but bad things can happen wherever you are."

IN PICTURES: See the students returning to the school

Several changes have been introduced at the school following the hazing incident in August which left two boys needing hospital treatment after having been "branded" with an iron.

"The students will be given more influence. We have had many meetings and much to work to get on with," Gabriella said.

The government closed the school following a recommendation by the Schools Inspectorate on August 28th. The board duly resigned and the school principal Staffan Hörnberg was sacked after ten years in the post.

Lundsberg appealed to the administrative court (förvaltningsrätten) which on Friday overruled the Schools Inspectorate, announcing that the school should be kept open until the court reaches a final decision.

On Monday the school staff and students were waiting on information from the new board.

"I don't know if the new chairperson will be in today. Media should really be handled by the board," Söderman told the TT news agency.

Seven members of the school's student population are not planning to return, with Söderman explaining that the recent disruption has led to them choosing other schools.

The school, which is the alma mater of Sweden's Prince Carl Philip and many other members of Swedish high-society, has been hit with a series of reports of students being assaulted in hazing rituals.

In May last year, students at the school spoke out after being forced into oral sex and eating manure. Speaking with Svergies Television (SVT), a former vice principal described the situation at Lundsberg as something out of Lord of the Flies.

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 enrolment of around 170 students, around 60 percent of which are boys.

In October of last year, the agency 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.

TT/The Local/pvs

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