Swiss Christian School Association responds to abuse accusations against free school


Central Europe


Christian school in Bern, Switzerland, where Markus Zuberbühler is the managing director. This school is not the one that was recently accused of abuse of students. Photo Facebook, Christliche Schule Bern

The recent scandal about alleged abuse that happened 20 years ago at a Christian school in Switzerland has brought Christian schools in the country under suspicion.

That is what Markus Zuberbühler, managing director from Initiative für Christliche Bildung, the umbrella organisation of Christian schools in the country worries about.

Markus Zuberbühler, managing director of the Christian school in Bern. Photo CS Bern

The Christian school CS Linth (previously called Domino Servite) was accused of corporal punishment and abuse that would have taken place at the end of last century. Several Swiss media reported about the case and many focused on Christian schools in Switzerland in general. As a result, some media placed these free schools under “general suspicion of pressure and control”, a press release of the Initiative für Christliche Bildung reads.

The organisation says to “deeply regret the abuses and condemn corporal punishment and violence in any form”, as “violence against children does not correspond to a modern understanding of the Bible.” Therefore, it regrets that the accusations of abuse are now extended to Christian schools in general.


In 1995, Jürg Läderach invested in the premises of Hof Oberkirch where the school was located. To establish a Christian community there, a free church and a boarding house were also opened. The free church was connected to the South African Kwazisabantu community, which is sometimes accused of being a sect. According to Markus Zuberbühler, managing director from Initiative für Christliche Bildung, Läderach himself took over the leadership of the Domino Servite school, “after which the situation has demonstrably improved.” Also, the Association of Free Churches in Switzerland has distanced itself from the South-African church community.

Zuberbühler noticed these preconceived opinions when he participated in a TV panel discussion on the topic of “What is going on in Christian schools?” During the programme, the focus was very much on the stories of the victims of abuse and manipulation, the press release states. In addition, sect expert Hugo Stamm made “sweeping accusations against free churches and Christian schools”, Zuberbühler states. In short, he asserted that “Christian schools could only be controlled if they were bugged.”

Peter Schneeberger, President of the Association of Free Churches in Switzerland, and Markus Zuberbühler attempted to point out that the abuse should not be generalised and “that there was no culture of fear and pressure in today's free churches.”

In addition, Zuberbühler pleaded for free choice of schools. He pointed out that the accusation of indoctrination at Christian schools is unfounded. “Between 30 per cent and 60 per cent of the children of free schools do not come from a Christian parental home. Therefore, it seems that the concepts of our schools are appreciated far beyond the borders of the Free Churches and meet a need.”



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