Czech school claims it's "random" that white children are segregated from Romani children in separate first-grade class
At the U Stadionu Primary School in Most, Czech Republic, white-skinned children have reportedly begun first grade in class "1.A" while children related to Romani people have begun first grade in classes "1.B" and "1.C" - news server Novinky.cz reports that the principal asserts the distribution is "random", but parents of Romani children, are convinced the opposite is the case. "My sister's son is the same age as my daughter, and he has been assigned to 1.A," the mother of a child not in the 1.A class told Novinky.cz.
"When they showed us their photos of the first day of school, my little girl was in tears," she told Novinky.cz. "The children in 1.A had a mascot in the classroom and their parents were all there with them to photograph them."
"Then I noticed something else," the mother said. "All the children in the class were white."
"Those children [in 1.A] all have light skin," the mother said. "In the other classes, all the children are Romani."
"My daughter has lighter skin because I am a white Czech, but her Dad is a Romani man," the mother of the child not in 1.A observed to Novinky.cz. She said her daughter had been surprised to see that the "white children" in 1.A. had a mascot in the classrom to take photographs with and that their parents had been able to be with them because the parents of the Romani children had not been allowed to accompany their children into classrooms 1.B and 1.C.
"I felt like crying myself," the mother told Novinky.cz. "I had no idea what to tell her."
"The other parents [of children not in 1.A] began telling me that it's common here for the children to be separated like this. When I asked if they had ever attempted to change that, by writing a petition, for example, they shrugged their shoulders and said they had never tried anything like that," the mother who contacted the newspaper described the reaction of the other families of the Romani-related first-graders.
"Why don't they allow these children to learn how to be together? Everybody lives here together anyway," said the "white Czech" mother whose husband is Romani.
"They should not be learning racism in school at such an early age. What will they grow up to be like?" the mother asked.
The principal is asserting that the distribution of children is "random" and not based on children's skin color. The school claims to have assigned pupils into the first grade classes according to the order in which they enrolled.
"I assigned the children as they enrolled according to whether they were going into the sports class or not," the principal told Novinky.cz. "As for the other two classes, I don't have the feeling that there are no non-Romani children assigned to them."
"I regret that is the impression," the principal told Novinky.cz. According to Miroslav Brož, a human rights activist who is vice-chair of the Pirate Party cell in Most, this practice has repeatedly occurred there in the schools.
"We make one class the 'sports' class, in other schools they might call it the 'selective' class, or the 'language' class, and we make two classes the 'normal' classes, which are understood to be segregated for Romani children, for children from mixed families, and at the most, a couple of [non-Romani] children from extremely impoverished families," he commented to Romea.cz. Brož also said the Pirate Party is offering aid and support to families who feel harmed by the segregation of their children.
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