Dagens Nyheter (DN) has reported this week on a group of members of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) outside a school in Ludvika, who were holding up flags and banners. Similar incidents have been reported in other schools.
The newspaper is now investigating extremism in Swedish schools. As part of the report, DN has carried out a survey of head teachers in all municipal upper secondary schools. The survey shows that 52% of those who responded have experienced external attempts to spread extremist propaganda in the school environment.
Violent extremist groups are expected to become more active during election year 2018, according to the Swedish Security Services (SÄPO) and, at the start of the year, SÄPO issued a handbook on personal safety for people who are politically active. The government has also commissioned the Swedish National Agency for Education (Skolverket) to examine the role schools have in working against violent extremism. At the start of the year, new rules were brought in which allow head teachers to limit political parties being invited into schools. They are not able to bar parties based on ideology but can on objective grounds.
The issue is difficult for schools to deal with. Joakim Andersson, head teacher in Kristianstad, was criticised in 2010 by the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) for his actions against two neo-Nazis who distributed propaganda in his school after he binned fliers. Leaders of the NRM reported him for breaching the freedom of the press act, and JO ruled that it was wrong to bin the fliers. The neo-Nazis then used the decision in their propaganda and the head teacher received threats.
SÄPO wrote in a report in 2009 that schools were the largest specific target when white power groups carried out vandalism or broke in to distribute propaganda.
(7/3 DN I: 6-7)
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