Elite school should have stayed open: court

The Local/og
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Elite school should have stayed open: court
The burns sustained by one of the students. Photo: Polisen

The Administrative Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that Sweden's School Inspectorate was wrong to temporarily close the scandal-hit boarding school Lundsberg, after two students were burned with an iron in a hazing ritual.


The Administrative Court of Appeal (Kammarrätten) ruled on Friday that Sweden's School Inspectorate (Skolinspektionen) was out of line when it closed the elite Lundsberg boarding school in late August this year.

The inspectorate does not have the supervisory responsibility for the boarding school, the court argued.

"This is fantastic, a huge relief, and I'm so incredibly glad for all the students and the employees," Helena L'Estrade, head of the Lundsberg foundation, told the TT news agency. 
When asked if she could guarantee that the school was a safe environment for students, she answered in the affirmative.
"Absolutely, we're continuing to tirelessly work to uphold our procedures and to ensure students feel safe and secure in their study environment. We will strive to be a role model in study and living environments."
It was in the last week of August that Lundsberg was closed after two teenage boys were left with burns after a hazing ritual involving an iron. The older students responsible for the burns claimed that they thought the iron had cooled down by the time they pressed it against the younger students' backs. Nine of the students involved were charged over the incident earlier this week. 

The inspectorate acted quickly, closing the school within a week of the news hitting the papers across the country. Two weeks later, however, the decision to close the school was overturned by the administrative court (förvaltningsrätten), which stated that the inspectorate's jurisdiction revolved around what students learned at school, not what they did in their free time.

On Friday, the court of appeal affirmed the administrative court's decision.

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.


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