The harsh episodes of violence and abuse at the boarding school Herlufsholm are terrible and far worse than if the students had gone to a regular school.
This is how it sounds from psychologist and former chairman of Børns Vilkår, John Halse, who has also previously been after the management at Herlufsholm.
“In a regular school, the child can get away from hell for a few hours every day, but the students at a boarding school can not,” says John Halse, who is shocked by the revelations that have emerged in the new TV 2 documentary about the conditions at the elite boarding school at Næsteved, where, among others, the crown prince couple’s son, Prince Christian, goes.
Here, several former students stand up and tell how they have been subjected to severe abuse by older students. Several of the assaults are of a sexual nature.
Prince Nikolai has gone to Herlufsholm.
Photo: Søren Bidstrup
‘A 12-14 year old who is in a boarding school is left to fend for himself. They have no one to go to, “says John Halse.
Several of Herlufsholm’s students are boarding school students with parents who live abroad, and precisely in those situations the students can be extra vulnerable.
“Bullying is always some shit. But this can be more violent, partly because the abuse may be more violent, and partly because the students can not get away from there and they are sitting with the problems alone. Who should they talk to about it? ”Says the psychologist.
“And if you have a management group and a group of teachers who deny the existence of the phenomenon, who should they go to ?,” says Halse, referring to the documentary, where several students say that the teachers and management have been aware of the problem without doing so. something about it – or not doing enough.
One of the dormitories on Herlufsholm.
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen
The school’s principal, Mikkel Kjellberg, has denied this to BT
“I can deny that we should have hidden at all or have an interest in hiding, concealing or even cheap if there are violations or violence at school. We are only interested in the students thriving. We will never accept violence or abuse or negative culture at school. And we do not recognize the image that the documentary is trying to paint, ”he said.
However, the problems with Herlufsholm are far from new. Several times in the past, isolated episodes of violence and rape have been described in the media.
Back in 2004 – after Jan Guillous had made the film ‘Evil’, which was based on his two and a half years at the Swedish Solbacka boarding school – the former Herlufsholm student Kasper Hansen reprimanded the school.
Mikkel Kjellberg has been principal since 2019.
Photo: Tobias Kobborg
In a debate post in Information, he called the boarding school, where he went from the late 80s to mid-90s, ‘a concentration camp for the dysfunctional children of the wealthy’ and told about how the older high school students, who at Herlufsholm are called prefects, should raise the younger children , which often took place with violence and humiliation.
According to John Halse, it is precisely the fact that the younger students are brought up by older students that is absolutely horrible.
“I think it’s completely out of the question, and I think there must be some politicians sitting and looking at this and at least taking a serious talk with the management and the board that there are some things, that must be different if they want to continue to have a state subsidy, ”he says.
Following the documentary, Herlufsholm has announced that the school will launch an independent investigation into the conditions at the school.