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LUNDSBERG HAZING SCANDAL

HAZING

Elite school should have stayed open: court

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.

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

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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SCHOOLS

‘Sweden’s Eton’ probed after new abuse claims

Sweden's Schools Inspectorate has demanded answers from Sweden's most elite boarding school, after one or more pupils were reported to the local police for alleged sex crimes.

'Sweden's Eton' probed after new abuse claims
Lundsbergs School is in Värmland,a three-hour drive west of Stockholm. Photo: Johanr/Wikimedia Commons
Lundsbergs Boarding School counts Sweden’s Prince Carl Phillip and the scions of some the country’s richest families among its alumni, earning it the title “Sweden’s Eton”. 
 
But the school has repeatedly faced accusations of severe bullying, with the Schools Inspectorate ordering it to be shut down in 2013 following allegations that boys were burned with hot irons by older pupils.
 
According to “unconfirmed information” published in Sweden’s Aftonbladet newspaper, the police investigation launched this week relates to a secretly filmed sex tape showing sexual abuse of female pupils. 
 
Björn Persson, acting head for the Swedish Schools Inspectorate's investigations wing in Gothenburg confirmed to Sweden’s TT newswire that he had been in contact with the school. 
 
“We have had telephone contact with the headmaster after which we decided to request a written report. We want them to explain what happened and what remedies have been taken,” Persson said.
 
According to Aftonbladet school staff reported one or more pupils to the police.
 
“I can confirm that we have received such notification and that it applies to several plaintiffs,” Anders Forsman of the local Värmland police told the newspaper. “It is the school management who made the complaint and it concerns incidents that are further back in time, but have been revealed now. This is not something which has happened this year.”
 
However, Aftonbladet newspaper reported on Thursday that a pupil had been hit with a belt, although the school’s headmaster Johan Harryson said this had been exaggerated. 
 
“Two students got into a serious disagreement with one another and we have sent one home for unacceptable verbal attacks. A belt was waved around, and there was contact with the belt at one point, but according to the victim the fright was the main thing.”
 
Harryson, who was appointed in 2014 to draw a line under the school’s problems, said the turnaround was still a work in progress. 
 
“We have worked extremely determinedly to make sure such things no longer happen, but we’re not there yet” he told TT. “It simply behoves us to keep working at it.” 
 
Sweden’s Schools Inspectorate in 2011 roundly condemned the school in a report claiming that younger pupils were regularly humiliated and abused by their seniors, with little attempt from the school's management to intervene.