Court hearings with nine Lundsberg pupils start January 8th. Photo Erik Mårtensson/Jessica Gow/TT

Lundsberg boarding school pupils go on trial

A court trial starts today against nine pupils and one staff member at the prestigious Lundsberg boarding school. They are facing prosecution over actions during an initiation ritual at the school, when a pupil was burnt with an iron

"It has been a tough period this past autumn. Of course everyone involved has been very downbeat," Johan von Schéele, spokesman for the school board, told Swedish Radio's local P4 Värmland station.

In August 2013, a group of Lundsberg pupils threatened four younger students with an iron. A boy, 14, was admitted to hospital with second-degree burns. After the incident, the Swedish Schools Inspectorate closed the school down, having previously criticised Lundsberg for its culture of hazing. However,  the school reopened a week later, following a successful appeal.

Nine pupils and one staff member are being prosecuted for unlawful threats and assault. Two are also accused of causing physical harm. All the pupils involved in the incident have remained at the school.

"The pupils have handled this well... We feel there is strong support from the pupils, the parents and the staff. Everyone wants the school to stay open," said von Schéele, and added that he does not know how the school will act on the coming verdict.

"We can't do anything before we know what the court will say and before there is an agreement about the real course of events," said von Schéele.

In October 2013, an administrative court ruled that the Schools Inspectorate had no right to shut down Lundsberg. The court of appeal confirmed the verdict in November, which is also when those involved in the violent incident were prosecuted. In December, the Schools Inspectorate appealed the verdict.

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