Bus driver kicks off 19 pre-school kids

Three adults and 19 children under the age of five were told to leave a bus in southern Sweden and were forced to walk 4 kilometres when the driver complained that the school's collective ticket was 30 kronor ($4.60) short.

Bus driver kicks off 19 pre-school kids

With the exception of two children who were one-year-olds and in push chairs, all of the young Malmö passengers were between the ages of 2.5 and 5.

When the bus driver complained that their ticket was 30 kronor short of a full fare, he made all 22 passengers disembark. The adults then led the children back to their pre-school – a walk of roughly 4 kilometres that took over two hours to complete.

“This doesn’t make sense. 19 children at this age shouldn’t walk so far in traffic. But they were very good, but the parents were extremely upset when they heard about it,” teacher Carina Klang-Christensson told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

She blamed the driver for providing incorrect information, informing the adults that a “duo ticket” counts for an adult and two children, when in reality it should count for an adult and four children. In total, and taking into account the duo tickets, the money the pre-school had should have been enough for a so-called Jojo ticket – but not according to the driver.

A spokesperson for Skånetrafiken, the company responsible for the bus, apologized for the incident.

“This has gone completely wrong, and I can only apologize,” the spokeswoman, Ulrika Mebius, told the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

“The driver gave the wrong information about the prices. It was probably due to this that the total money didn’t add up for the Jojo card.”

The driver has now been called in to the company headquarters, Mebius added, and the children are likely to get ice-cream, or some other similar form of compensation, reported the paper.

TT/The Local/og

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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.”