Swedish authorities shut down the elite Swedish boarding school Lundsbergs this week, following multiple disturbing reports of an institutionalized culture of hazing.
Lundsbergs was closed in order to insure the safety of its 200 male and female students after “nine older students burned two younger students with a hot iron as part of a new semester initiation ritual,” the Associated Press reports.
This is far from the first instance of reported hazing at the school, as over the past few years students have come forward with stories about being forced to eat manure, fight other students for entertainment, and generally act as servants to older students.
Last year, one former student told Swedish television that he suffered hearing loss after having a rifle shot too close to his ear and was “kicked so hard that his anus split,” according to The Local, a Swedish news website.
Another student has spoken about how — after some alleged infraction — “some of the older students acquired electric fly swatters following an excursion to Ikea which they subsequently used to burn the boy’s nipples with as punishment,” also according to The Local.
The student also said that he was beaten after failing to bow when he left a room and was forced to do push-up while being watched by students holding baseball bats. “It was reported that the boy was bullied for, among other things, not sitting correctly at school meals, his diet, and sometimes for no reason whatsoever.”
The Local reported that the principal of the Lundsbergs school has “admitted that there is a pecking order at the school and that it is important for the students to work their way up through the hierarchy in order gain use of a ‘slave’ themselves.“
Lundsbergs is one of Sweden’s three elite boarding schools, and the AP reports that alumni of the school “include many famous politicians, business leaders and royals, most recently Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip, who graduated in 1999.”
Petter Sandgren, an expert on Swedish boarding schools, told The Guardian that despite the many allegations of bullying, “Lundsberg could not be closed earlier because of the ‘old boys’ network’ surrounding it.“
“Previously when the system of ‘fagging’ got too intense, it was resolved by the lawyers of the different families … This is the first time in the school’s history that pupils have gone to the press. There is less loyalty to the school among its nouveau riche students,” Sandgren said.
There have also been reports of hazing at Sigtuna, another Swedish boarding school. According to The Local, “a young female student was forced to perform oral sex on a snowman in front of her fellow pupils … a student was thrown in a freezing shower for five minutes and another beaten for not turning off the light at bed time.”
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