An extreme form of high society. That’s what Swedish author and journalist Jan Guillou calls boarding schools. He goes further and suggests they should all be closed.
“They shouldn’t be financed with money from the taxpayers,” he says. Guillou himself went to boarding school (they are called “internatskolor” in Swedish), and his book “Ondskan” (“Evil”) is about life at the boarding school Solbacka he went to. In it, Guillou brings up the bullying that he himself experienced as a student at Solbacka.
Guillou says he recognizes the pattern in the recent report about bullying from a student at Sigtuna boarding school.

Says Guillou: “It’s a physically milder form, but the humiliation is the same. It is just as bad today going through these sorts of initiation rituals as in the days when it was worse physically.” Guillou believes there ought to exist a national boarding school for students from other countries. What he is against is “the boarding school for the Swedish upper class” and suggests that two national boarding schools close down immediately. He mentions Lundsberg, in the Värmland forest and Sigtuna, north of Stockholm where most recently a bullying case was made public. The other classic Swedish boarding school, Grenna in Småland, just north of Jönköping, he considers much too modern to have the problems with bullying the other schools are allegedly subject to.


“This is an extreme form of high society that belongs to the 19th century and which we shouldn’t finance with taxpayer’s money,” he says.
“The Minister for Education can with only one stroke of the pen close these schools. It won’t cost a dime and he won’t lost any votes.” Guillou adds that he feels the boy who reported the systematical violence at Sigtuna is brave: “He’s made himself socially impossible at the school. He will be defamed for the rest of his life. Whatever social benefits there may be to study at an upper class school – he’s lost them all. There’s a prize to pay for those who report crime in this environment.”

The author even goes as far as considering the silence among present and former students at these institutions a form of omertá, the Sicilian Mafia’s code of absolute silence.
Be that as it may, the Swedish boarding schools are not only a haven for Sweden’s upper class but also a means for Swedish families abroad to offer their children a Swedish schooling.