Denmark: Sexual harassment among pupils

Denmark has been rocked by a scandal over welcome rituals at grammar schools. According to reports one of the rituals involves 15 and 16-year-old girls starting upper school being selected to be waitresses at a dinner for pupils of the graduating classes. They are made to follow a dress code that includes wearing red panties and are often subjected to sexual harassment. Danish media are appalled.

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Berlingske (DK) /

Headmasters must not tolerate this kind of party

These schools' directors should be held to account, Berlingske stresses:

“Unfortunately many rectors have demonstrated a regrettable lack of action vis-à-vis these institutionalised ritual humiliations. The head of the grammar school in Rungsted gave the classic explanation that she couldn't do anything about parties that were held outside the school. But she certainly can. A regulation from 2017 stipulates that grammar schools can take action against the conduct of pupils if it is detrimental to the atmosphere in classes and the social relations at the school - even if the incident in question occurred outside schooltime and outside the institution.”

Nordschleswiger (DK) /

Boys must learn to behave

These customs are by no means harmless, Der Nordschleswiger comments:

“What may sound like little games among youths has a far more serious background. Namely respect for other people and understanding that for something to be fun both sides must enjoy it: the giver and the receiver. Women in particular - as these current examples show - are still having to put up with their sexual boundaries being overstepped. ... This is about treating women with respect, and that is something young men need to learn early on - otherwise we will have learned nothing from the MeToo movement.”