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June 26, 2022



Czech Supreme Court: No redress for "special school" enrollment

Prague, 3.1.2013 16:31, (ROMEA)
Jaroslav Suchý at a demonstration against neo-Nazism and racism in Prague, 17 November 2011. (PHOTO:  František Kostlán)
Jaroslav Suchý at a demonstration against neo-Nazism and racism in Prague, 17 November 2011. (PHOTO: František Kostlán)

Jaroslav Suchý has finally lost his lawsuit demanding compensation for the fact that he attended "special school" as a child. Suchý unsuccessfully sought half a million crowns (EUR 20 000) in damages from the Czech Education Ministry, but Supreme Court spokesperson Petr Knötig told the Czech Press Agency yesterday the court has rejected his appeal.

Suchý claims he was assigned to attend "special school" because of his Romani origin. The courts, however, have not agreed with him.

"It was not proven to the lower courts that the plaintiff was assigned to 'special school' because of his ethnic origin when he espoused Romani ethnicity, but that he was assigned to such a school on the basis of a specialized examination," Knötig said. The official reason for his enrollment was said to have been light mental disability.

Suchý was raised in an orphanage and was sent to "special school" by the Cheb municipal education department in 1985. He completed his primary education after achieving his majority and then completed his secondary education with a high-school leaving examination. He claims that his enrollment into "special school" as a child deprived him of the opportunity to be educated and of use to society.

Suchý previously stated he is prepared to defend his case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Several years ago that court found in favor of a complaint filed by 18 Romani people who also complained of having been assigned to "special school". The court instructed the Czech Republic to stop discriminating against Romani pupils. The Czech Education Ministry recently stated that it is preparing a series of measures in response to that judgment, such as regular testing of children and new diagnostic tools.

Research by the office of the ombudsman has shown in the past that as many as 32 - 35 % of the pupils attending such schools today are Romani. The number of Romani people in the population of the Czech Republic is estimated at only 1.4 - 2.8 %.

Suchý drew attention to himself several years ago when he got close enough to US President Barack Obama during his visit to Prague to pat him on the head. He has also made an unsuccessful asylum request in Canada.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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