Editorial: Czech media claim inspection found "no discrimination" at Krásná Lípa school - lack of professionalism or intentional manipulation?
The Czech School Inspection (Česká školní inspekce - ČSI) has published a report of its investigation into a primary school in the town of Krásná Lípa where Romani parents complained last September that their children had been concentrated into a single classroom. The conclusions of the report are unambiguous and very unfavorable to the school.
Journalists in the Czech Republic are not taking much interest in the result of this scandal, which rocked the media in September, but those who have written about the results of the inspection have distorted and misinterpreted the ČSI's conclusions. The first media outlet to report on the Inspection's results was news server iDNES.cz, in an article with the headline "Mainly Roma in class with assistant, inspection did not find discrimination".
That reporting included the following claims: "Ivana Preyová, the principal of the Primary School in Krásná Lípa, did not commit discrimination when she concentrated Romani first-graders into a single classroom with an assistant. That is the conclusion of the final report of the Czech School Inspection, which has completed its investigation at the school. Inspectors, however, did rebuke the principal for making many other errors."
The Inspection's report, however, says absolutely nothing about the director "not committing discrimination". The word "discrimination" is never even mentioned in the report, which news server Romea.cz has published in full on our website.
The inspectors do not at all express an opinion in the text of the report as to whether what occurred at the school was "discrimination" or not. The report does describe many deficiencies, confirming the Romani parents' complaints that their children were concentrated into a single class and that the quality of the instruction in that class was the worst of all of the first-grade classes in the school - and is not that discrimination and segregation?
News server Deník seems to have just copied iDNES.cz's reporting and is also asserting that the Inspection report states there was no discrimination in the school. Their headline is even more unequivocal: "School Inspection says discrimination did not happen in Krásná Lípa".
The article published by iDNES.cz does at least describe the deficiencies in instruction that the Inspection found in the "Roma" class, but what journalist Alexandr Vanžura of Deník has done in his article is something unbelievable. That article states that "The School Inspection therefore began to investigate the case, and its inspectors spent four days total at the school in the autumn of last year. However, they found no misconduct in the direction of discrimination. They did rebuke the school for many other errors, though. One of them was, for example, the insufficient qualifications of the teacher in one of the first-grade classes, but Mayor Jan Kolář says he believes that has been resolved and a fully-qualified teacher is now in that class."
Please note how vaguely Vanžura has described where exactly that unqualified teacher was working: "in one of the first-grade classes". A reader of Deník will never learn that it was precisely the class where the Romani children were concentrated that had the unqualified teacher.
The Inspection report unequivocally asserts that was the case, as can be seen from its finding that "The Czech School Inspection has ascertained that most of the Romani pupils are being educated in class 1A as a result of the principal's approach." By now, however, the fabricated (dis)information that the ČSI believes "discrimination never happened" at the school in Krásná Lípa is continuing to spread.
News server Rodina.cz has published an article with the headline "School Inspection: Purely Romani class is not discrimination" and has reprinted the (dis)information reported by Deník. The Rodina.cz article ends like this: "School inspectors spent a total of four days at the school in the autumn but ultimately did not find any misconduct in the direction of discrimination or racism."
Is this just a total lack of professionalism on the part of these journalists, or is it intentional manipulation? I recommend the authors of all three of these articles watch the main news program of the public broadcaster Czech Television tonight - maybe they will learn something about discrimination and segregation at the primary school in Krásná Lípa.
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