A political row has broken out in Norway after a secondary school segregated students with ethnic backgrounds in classes away from white Norwegians.
Bjerke Upper Secondary School in Oslo filled one of the three general studies sets solely with pupils with immigrant parents, after many white Norwegians from last year's intake changed schools.
"This is the first time I've heard about this, and it is totally unacceptable," Torge Ødegaard, Oslo education commissioner, said on Friday, before pressuring the school to inform parents that the three classes would now be reorganised. The letter to parents read: "Such a division of the students is not in accordance with the requirements of the Education Act. The school regrets this error."
But Robert Wright, a Christian Democrat politician and former head of the city's schools board, struck back, arguing that the authorities had been wrong to block the move. He also said that other Oslo schools should start to segregate classes to prevent a situation of "white flight" developing.
"I think we have to try this to see how it's functioning," he told The Daily Telegraph. "Bjerke School has come up with a radical solution to a real problem, but the politicians have just said 'no'."
Mrs Flaten told The Daily Telegraph: "We made the decision because many Norwegian students were moving to other schools because they were in classes with such a high percentage of students from other nations. They seemed to be in a minority."
Students at the school have expressed their anger at the segregation. "This is apartheid. They do this because I'm from Africa and my father is from Africa," said Ilias Mohamed, 17, from Somalia, who was part of the immigrant-only class. "But everyone of us is a Norwegian."