The school has come under scrutiny before. Reports of bullying have emerged in the past, and there have been two separate accusations of rape by a male student of a female student, one in 2006 and one in 2016. In the earlier case, the boy who was accused was found not guilty, and in the other, the police dropped the charges.
The TV2 documentary’s claims were supported by new evidence, which parents submitted to the Board of Education in January, that included videos of younger students being forced to drink older students’ urine, a student being choked and then dragged down onto the bathroom floor, and another having his underpants pulled up forcefully.
Shortly before the documentary aired, another boy at the school was convicted of raping a male student. He has appealed the verdict.
Patterns of predatory behavior have emerged at several boarding schools around the world and especially at elite schools in Britain. Psychologists have studied how in these cloistered environments, away from their families, children may tend to conceal their emotions, pretend to be adults and establish domination over weaker students.
Such behavior stands in stark contrast with a Danish value system that prizes a flat society without rigid social rankings. Danish citizens have the highest “willingness to delegate authority to subordinates” of 137 countries, according to the World Bank, and Mr. Allerup said that in recent decades, Danish schools had carried out changes to make schools more horizontal, cutting the distances among students and staff.
“In Denmark, there is a tendency to get rid of hierarchies,” Mr. Allerup said. “You shouldn’t show too much that you are more than everybody else.”