Herlufsholm was founded in 1565 in a former monastery about 50 miles south of Copenhagen by Herluf Trolle, a Danish admiral, and his wife, Birgitte Goye, based on the principles of Christian humanism.

The school was meant to welcome 40 students, serving ''not only the nobility, but also children with the desire for learning and education,'' according to the website.

The words of Ms. Goye - '' Fear God, do right and do not rely on people'' - still decorate the coat of arms, the website notes.

TODAY, school has more than 500 students, including boarders and day students who pay about $6,000 to about $20,000 a year - an exception in a country where education is largely free. 

Herlufsholm is famous for ties to the royal family, academic quality, straw hats and quirky traditions.

DENMARK - LIKE MOST OF THE REST OF SCANDINAVIA, likes to see itself as a fair and equal society, with a nonhierarchical structure, high levels of happiness and trustworthy institutions dedicated to everyone's well-being.

But one of the country's most famous boarding schools, long attended by the children of the elite and members of the royal family, has become embroiled in a scorching scandal, in jarring contrast to Denmark's trademark values.

Multiple accusations of sex abuse and bullying have overrun the red brick classrooms and austere dormitories of the boarding school, Herlufsholm, revealing brutal pecking order and violence among students.

''We are deeply shaken by the reports,'' Crown Prince Frederik and his wife, Princess Mary, who pulled their son from the school in June, said in a statement. ''Bullying, violence and indignities are never acceptable.''

The scandal, which led to multiple resignations and drew widespread outrage. was fueled by a television documentary aired in May on Denmark TV2 that reported disturbing episodes, including an assault on one boy, and older students' cruel domination of younger ones.

The students interviewed said that such episodes were ''normal'' and called the culture at the school ''destructive, exclusive and oppressive of the younger students.''

The reports of abuse, which Denmark's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, called ''unforgivable,'' drew swift action. Two days after the documentary aired the school principal was fired.

Experts said the revelations showed that within the wall's of Europe's elite boarding schools, things look much the same from country to country, with social privileges outweighing any perceived cultural norms.

''The people who can afford this are a smaller group of quite wealthy Danish people,'' said Peter Allerup, a professor emeritus at Denmark's Institute for Pedagogy and Education. '' In these circumstances,'' he said, ''they don't have the warmest feelings for nonhierarchical structures.''

Shortly after the abuses were revealed, the Danish Board of Education released a damning preliminary report about the school, the result of an inspection it had started last year upon learning that reporters were looking into the case.

Calling the abuses it found '' completely unacceptable, '' the board urged the school to repay funds it had received from the state, and said it is making a final assessment on requiring that repayment after having received a response from the school.

Tim Petersen, the school's director last week told the Danish newspaper Berlingske that the school disagreed with the board's suggestion that it reimburse the state, because the school did not have a cultural problem but a ''sub-culture among some students.''

The Publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Emma Bubola and Jasmina Nielsen.


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