Czech school opens "special" first-grade class, only Roma assigned to it
The principal of a primary school in the town of Krásná Lípa in the Šluknov foothills has created a "special" class only for Romani first-graders. Their parents are complaining that they did not know their children would be attending a class that would be separate from the other children.
The school is arguing that the children are not being differentiated by ethnicity, but according to whether they have attended nursery school or not. The Romani parents allege that non-Romani parents put together a petition to the principal stating that they did not want their children attending the same class together with the Romani children.
The mayor of the town has also admitted that majority-society parents expressed such displeasure. "My son began first grade today. The principal has set up three first-grade classes and a socially vulnerable class that is being attended by my son and others. The parents of the children in the other classes put together a petition saying they did not want our Romani families attending the same class as their children. They did not give us any opportunity to choose, this all happened without any regard for our opinions," a Romani mother wrote to news server Romea.cz on 1 September.
The founder of the school says the differentiation of the children is warranted because those who never attended nursery school will have assistants and special needs educators in their class. "There is no petition," principal Ivana Preyová, who is also a member of the town council, told news server Romea.cz.
"The assignment of pupils into classes is within the power of the school principal. None of the grades have been differentiated according to 1A, 1B, etc. after consultation with parents. This is not a segregated class," she said.
"There are 26 Romani children in that class. Some of them are lighter-skinned and don't look like Roma at first glance, but all of the children in that classroom are Romani," Petra Jelínková, another mother of a first-grader in the "special" class, told news server Romea.cz.
"The petition was making the rounds before summer vacation, it was delivered to the local authority, to the council, but no one informed us about it ahead of time. On the first day of school, one of the mothers asked the teacher whether the class our children are attending is a Romani class. He said yes it was and that we should address it with the principal, but she told us that the reason for assigning the children into that class is that they never attended nursery school and that during enrollment it was ascertained that the children need a special class. Enrollment took 10 minutes... Yes, there are children here who might need a special class, but certainly not all of them do. The principal closes herself off in her office, it's not possible to communicate with her much," Jelínková said.
According to a report by Czech Television, Mayor Jan Kolář has admitted that majority-society parents were displeased to learn Romani children would be attending the school. "Some parents of children from the majority society concluded that it would be more appropriate for their children not to attend our school precisely because the proportion of Romani children in each class is growing," he said.
- Amnesty International petition against discrimination of Roma in Czech schools signed by 38 000
- Czech school director says closing the "practical schools" is unreasonable
- Czech Republic: Romani children in a small town discuss the "special school"
- Council of Europe issues report on Roma in preschool in the Czech Republic
- Czech School Inspectorate unequivocally supports collecting "ethnic" statistics
- Slovak court says school, not state, is responsible for segregating Romani children
- Czech primary school materials feature a total of 71 sentences about Roma - and they promote stereotypes
- Slovak Education Ministry establishes expert team focused on solving problems with the education of members of national minorities
- Central European University offers stipend to Romani students for online summer school, deadline 13 May
- Czech foundation introduces new online platform for tutoring services
- Adriana Kotlárová, educator at school with many Romani pupils: Families have no Internet access, personal contact unavoidable even during COVID-19
- Czech primary schools begin first-grade enrollment, children not present due to COVID-19 restrictions
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights: I hope the law to compensate victims of forced sterilization will soon be adopted
- Applications to Central European University preparatory course for Romani graduate students can be submitted until mid-March
- Robert Olah, Romani university student in the Czech Republic, on personal motivation and nonprofit support
- Czech teachers disagree with proposal to deprive parents of children with high absenteeism of their social benefits
- Czech EdMin proposes new system to harmonize differences among educational advisory centers' recommendations