‘I was forced to eat manure’: ex-student

Former students of prestigious Swedish boarding school Lundsberg have shared tales of "Lord of the Flies" bullying including forced oral sex and eating manure amid a battle over the school's refusal to acknowledge certain claims.

'I was forced to eat manure': ex-student

Speaking with Sveriges Television (SVT) investigative news programme Uppdrag Granskning, former students detailed years of violent abuse and bullying at the hands of fellow students.

One student, Jan-Åke, told of being kicked so hard that his anus split, leaving him incontinent for the rest of his life.

He also suffered hearing loss after having a rifle fired close to his ear.

“I’ve never cried as much as I did at Lundsberg,” he told the SVT programme, which documents decades of student-on-student abuse at the elite boarding school, the alma mater of Prince Carl Philip and a host of other members of Swedish high-society.

Last November, the school, located in rural Värmland in western Sweden, was reported to police over allegations that a student had his nipples burned as part of an elaborate and controversial “peer education” system whereby older students are tasked with educating younger ones.

The practice has been part of the Lundsberg experience for decades and when several examples were brought to the attention of vice principal Stefan Kristoffersen, he approached the school’s board of trustees, but no action was taken.

In one anonymous letter sent to Kristoffersen, a student told of being orderd to “eat manure”. He also said other students forced him to perform oral sex as part of an initiation ritual.

“Peer education is a bit like ‘Lord of the Flies’. When the lights go off, these tendencies get activated in student living quarters,” he told SVT.

Kristoffersen presented several letters to the school’s leadership detailing student abuse, but no action was taken, prompting him to resign in protest.

The school has also refused to pay compensation to a student who enrolled in 2009 and was subsequently bullied while at Lundsberg.

Despite an order by Sweden’s Child and School Student Representative (Barn- och elevombudet – BEO) that the school pay the student 178,400 kronor ($24,700) in damages for the abuse he suffered, the school’s leadership rebuffed the decision, claiming the boy “exaggerated” his claims.

Founded in 1896, Lundsberg was inspired by British boarding school tradition and currently has an enrollment of around 200 students, around 60 percent of which are boys.

The SVT investigation is set to broadcast at 8pm on Wednesday night.

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Madrid to suspend pupils who don’t report bullying at school

School kids in Spain’s capital who fail to report another pupil being bullied will be expelled for up to six days or face other punishments.

Madrid to suspend pupils who don't report bullying at school
Photo: Deposit Photos

Educational authorities in Madrid want to stamp out bullying from the region’s classrooms, their newest measure aimed at preventing the climate of silence which allows bullies to continue getting away with their behaviour. 

From the next school year onwards, any pupil or teacher who fails to report an incident of bullying will be held accountable as silent witnesses.

For pupils, the punishment for not informing a teacher or any other member of staff about physical or verbal abuse against a classmate or teacher will range from a playground ban to a six-day suspension.

Each educational centre will be responsible for determining the severity of actions, or lack thereof, for those who failed to speak up.

The newly approved school coexistence decree will apply to all schools and high schools in the Madrid region, regardless of whether they’re public or private institutions.

This poster by Madrid authorities reads: “Snitch!”, “Snitch? If you mean I don't keep quiet about abuse, then I'm a snitch. The slogan reads “When it comes to abuse at school, speak up”.

Although the decree is aimed at de-stigmatising the concept of being a school snitch, several associations have expressed doubts about the end result of the measure.

“This isn’t the solution,” Lucía Martínez Martín, head of the Madrid office of Save The Children, told La Vanguardia.

“Once they put the measure into practice, they’ll realise it’s not an efficient measure.

“Children first have to know what abuse is because many of them can’t recognise it when it’s there.

“Some think insulting someone isn’t abuse but hitting someone is.

“We have to work with them to fight these abuses, promote respect and teach them their rights.”

The measure also sets the bar for how bullies themselves should be punished, considering online bullying, any form of discrimination relating to sexual orientation, race or religion, insults and threats made to teachers and numerous other forms of abuse to be serious incidents.

Bullies, depending on the severity of their actions, will have to either take part in reintegration workshops, be banned from certain schooling activities and subjects, be moved to another class or face temporary or permanent suspension.

An October 2018 report by Madrid's public prosecutor's office found that there has been sharp increase in the number of reported bullying cases involving “very young children”.