A Danish exchange student was placed in a family in Colorado. Within a few days she was a nerve-wreck and had to be helped to another family by the local police.
She had been witness to abusive corporal punishment used against the children in the host family. So severe that the local police found it right so remove her from the family at once. Why was she shocked? Because it has been forbidden to use corporal punishment against children in Denmark for more than 10 years. No reason can justify it according to the Danish politicians. It is not about how to translate “Spare the rod” and all this God nonsense. I believe that a God who speaks of mercy and compassion in no way would allow corporal punishment.
It was good that the local police helped her. However what the exchange student agency did was totally unacceptable. They forced the girl to sign a letter where she would be silent about her experiences.
Did they know what they were doing? First they interfere with a police investigation. Second they put the Danish exchange student into harm’s way. In the United States it is for unknown reasons a crime to lie to the police. In Denmark it is only a crime to lie in court. The Danish police are used to be faced with a lie and there is no reason to fill prisons with persons based just because they lie.
The Danish Exchange student could have faced a year in jail. Instead she did the only thing left as an option for her. She returned to Denmark.
Her parents sued the exchange student agency for DKK 50,000. They won and the authorities stated that the exchange student agency and their partner in the United States committed an error.
But what about the next time?
- Is it safe to send your children abroad? This case proves that it is not.
- Is there something to learn from a stay abroad. Academically there is nothting to learn according to the Danish Department of Education. Their high shools have no Friday bars, so there is no chance of a emotional and social growth in their schools, so credits are denied.
Parents. Be careful about allowing your child to study abroad. So much could go wrong and there is so little to gain.
- Dansk pige truet til tavshed i USA (Metroxpress – article in Danish)
- Exchange Student Information (What to consider for exchange students in General)