STOCKHOLM — Authorities in Sweden temporarily shut down one of the country’s most renowned boarding schools Wednesday after repeated, shocking incidents of bullying and hazing — including one in which students were burned with an iron.
The Swedish Schools Inspectorate ordered the Lundsbergs school to close down until its management can ensure the safety of its students.
Lundsbergs, founded in 1896, is the oldest of Sweden’s three national boarding schools. Located in Storfors, a small village outside Karlstad in central Sweden, it teaches about 200 students ages 13-18. Its graduates include many famous politicians, business leaders, and royals.
The decision to close the school for up to six months followed a weekend incident in which about nine older students burned two younger students with a hot iron as part of a new semester initiation ritual. The older students allegedly blindfolded the two younger boys, ordered them to lay face-down on the floor, and put a hot iron against their backs until they screamed. One of the boys had to be taken to the hospital.
Sweden’s schools watchdog had previously received numerous reports of bullying and violent initiation rituals at the school. It had warned school authorities to take action against these practices several times.