Swedish School Backtracks on Language Ban

R Senghas Richard.Senghas at sonoma.edu
Thu Jan 25 13:20:39 UTC 2007

School backtracks on language ban

Published: 25th January 2007 10:11 CET

Staff at Gustav Adolf School in the southern town of Landskrona have 
now retracted a controversial ban on the use of languages other than 
Swedish on school premises. Just days after its introduction the 
principal has downgraded the ban to a "main rule". Consequently pupils 
will now be allowed to speak their native languages during breaks. But, 
in a new measure, pupils will have to pass two security guards when 
entering the school.

On Saturday it was revealed that the management of the school had 
decided that only Swedish could be spoken on school premises. Almost 
half of the pupils at the school come from an immigrant background. The 
ban was introduced following a number of incidents in which staff and 
pupils felt they had been insulted in languages they did not 
understand. Principal Patrik Helgesson explained the new move on the 
school's website. "In order for staff at the school to be able to 
prevent breaches of school regulations, speaking Swedish is to be a 
main rule," he wrote.

Pupil's will however be permitted to speak their native languages 
during breaks, provided that staff and other pupils are not excluded 
from discussions. "If somebody goes over to a group that is speaking a 
language that person doesn't understand, it is quite natural to make 
use of a common language," district manager Lisbeth Månsson told 
Helsingborgs Dagblad.

Månsson does not think the school has backed down from its previous 
decision. "I would prefer to say that we have clarified this part of 
the regulations," she said.  Apart from tougher language requirements, 
pupils will now also have to knock on the front door before being let 
in to the school, according to newspaper Skånska Dagbladet. The school 
has decided to place two security guards from the local council for 
crime prevention inside its main entrance.

TT/The Local
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