Proposal for new Tvind school rejected

Copenhagen Post/1999
By Cathy Conlon

The Tvind organisation's plans to open a new school with space for approximately 60 children from socially challenged backgrounds fell through last week after a majority of Funen County Council officials voted to reject the plan.

The proposal for the new school found fruition after a foundation comprising of members closely connected to the Tvind organisation bought the run-down Kakkebølle Sanatorium close to Fåborg last year. Foundation members had planned to convert the sanatorium into a small boarding school for children and youths who had been involved with crime, or had family and drug abuse problems.

However, the Funen County Council's Social Affairs Committee halted the school plans last Wednesday, ruling that it would be inadvisable to congregate so many children from disturbed backgrounds in one institution.

"Normally institutions of this kind have a maximum of 20 boarders. Anything more than that is not considerate. These children and youths are very fragile and many of them have never experienced a proper home. They need peace and a small homelike environment." Said Gunnar Lorentsen, the Deputy Chairperson of the council committee to the daily newspaper Politiken last Thursday.

According to Lorentsen, the committee's rejection had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the foundation involved comprises of Tvind members. The Danish based charity organisation, which is called after a Jutland town of the same name, has been immersed in controversy after being accused of exploiting its workers, of ignoring visa restrictions and of indulging in cult-like activities. Lorentsen stated last Thursday that these allegations did not colour the committee's decision.

"Our actions were based on a concrete evaluation of the educational overtures and the physical setting combined with the organisational and economic frameworks." Said Lorentsen.

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