The principal of a Swedish school told pupils they couldn't be in the annual class photo when some of them turned up wearing Swedish National Football T-shirts. The reason? It could send a signal of xenophobia and racism.
Swedish daily Sydsvanskan reports (link in Swedish, my translation):
Eighth graders at the "Strandskole" in Klagshamn [in the Malmö region] are not allowed to be in the photos for the school yearbook. - School photos are not suitable for political manifestations, says the Principal.
There's a football match between Denmark and Sweden this weekend, and the kids wanted to show their support for the Swedish team. However, the Principal, Pär Blondell, got worried that a handful of 14-year old boys showing the Swedish flag on a photo would be seen as a display of "xenophobia and intolerance", something the school has a policy against.
Sydsvenskan have been talking to some of the boys, who seems to posses a lot more common sense than their Principal:
We meant no harm. And we had no idea that it could be perceived as racism. We have a lot of friends with immigrant background, says of of the boys to Sydsvenskan.The Principal will now discuss the situation with the pupils and their parents.
How can it be racist to wear a national football jersey, another pupil ponders.
What can be seen as racism and xenophobia is a gray area. My decision can be perceived as intolerant. But it was the pupils who made this choice. I do not think it was a wise choice. And as a parent I don't think it was a good choice. And as a student - five years from now, I probably wouldn't think it was a wise choice, says Principal Pär Blondell
Bad choices... Five years from now.... He makes it sound like the kids where caught smoking in the boys room.
Anyway, here's a xenophobe racist who doesn't mind showing the Swedish colors on his shirt:
Zlatan Ibrahimović, one heck of a football player. Born in Malmö as the son of a Croat mother and a Bosnian father.
This is a goal he scored while he was playing for Ajax Amsterdam (Wearing number 9). He's also on the Swedish national team playing against Denmark on Saturday. Can you blame a kid for wearing a jersey his hero's also wearing?
In Sweden, absolutely.