A so-called “challenge” shared across social media in the Swedish city of Örebro has called on children to set fires in their schools and, so far, several fires have been reported.
Police and local officials have expressed concern that the social media challenges could lead to serious fires in schools in the city with police officer Therese Beme stating, “It can get so serious that someone actually dies in a school fire.”
According to Beme, police reached out to parents in the city over social media platform Facebook after several fires broke out at schools in the city, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Per-Ove Staberyd, who serves as fire manager at Nerikes fire department, said that so far this year there have been 13 emergency calls to schools in Örebro and noted that the social media challenge could just make the situation even worse.
“We must never accept this and schools may need to put in extra measures,” Stabeyrd said.
Danger Money: Sweden to Pay Teachers Extra to Work in 'No Go Zones' https://t.co/aeNXCb9bNS
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In the city of Lund, there have been at least a dozen schools fires this year according to a prior report from SVT that was published earlier this year in July.
Police officer Ewa-Gun Westford commented on the Lund fires at the time saying, “It’s not just schools that have burned. But we have had 25 fires in the municipality in recent months. But of course, it is regrettable that it affects schools and it affects the children, parents and staff.”
Some Swedish schools have also seen a rise in violence in recent years, with independent journalist Joakim Lamotte claiming last year that many teachers have simply “surrendered” to the violence.
“I saw a lot of schools in crisis in the years I went around and lectured. I often met teachers who surrendered, while pupils did exactly what they wanted,” Lamotte said.
“Threats, beatings, and stabbings now occur every day in Swedish schools and it increases dramatically. At the same time, teachers are getting less power while authorities and politicians are completely paralysed,” he said.