A boy at a school in Nybro municipality near Kalmar first refused to hand over his mobile phone at the start of the lesson, and then when his teacher admonished him, he called her “hora”, which means “whore” and is highly offensive in Swedish.
Her colleague then threw the boy out of the classroom, after which his parents reported the teacher to the police.
“As a teacher, you need to have the option of admonishing a pupil and giving sanctions when they break the rules,”
Åsa Fahlén, the head of Sweden's teacher's union, told TT. “It is completely unreasonable that this should be seen as abusive in and of itself.”
The parents' decision to report the teacher to the police has generated heated debate in Sweden since the case was first reported on Tuesday.
“In a decent, well-functioning family, it's not OK to call a teacher a whore and then report them to the police,” Lasse Johansson, chairman of the local municipal education department told the local Barometern newspaper.
Jimmy Loord, an MP for the Christian Democrats, told the newspaper that the case marked “a worrying development which underlined the need to make the various roles in schools clearer”.
Fahlén argued that while it was important that teachers behaved appropriately in the schoolroom, they needed to be able to admonish pupils who got out of line.
“There's a risk that we can get to an untenable situation where almost anything can constitute an offence,” she said. “We need to define clearly what an offence is.”
She said that there was an urgent need for the Swedish National Agency for Education to investigate the issue and produce clear guidelines of what behaviour from teachers was appropriate.