First-graders from Czech school subjected to racist attacks online receive tablets thanks to ROMEA's fundraising drive
Children attending the primary school in Teplice that faced a wave of racist online commentaries in the autumn of 2017 were given tablets and other small gifts during the end-of-year celebration that were bought for them by the school with the proceeds from the ROMEA organization's fundraising campaign on their behalf. At last Thursday's celebration, graduating pupils were given a sash to wear and were accompanied by the first-graders in addition to their teachers during the ceremony.
"Last autumn, together with Ivan Gabal, we launched a fundraising campaign drive called THEY WANT TO GAS THEM, WE WANT TO SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!, through which we supported this school after it was attacked online with hate speech in response to the publication of a photograph of the first grade class. Our campaign was contributed to by 774 donors from all over the Czech Republic, and of the total amount raised through our scholarship program, half of the proceeds - CZK 225 000 [EUR 8 660] - was given in January of this year to the primary school," said Monika Mihaličková, the fundraiser for the ROMEA organization.
"We agreed with the principal of the school, rather informally and as a work in progress, that the school would divide the money donated between three different areas of investment. The aim of our proposal was an attempt to move the school in the direction of a far more open system that pupils and teachers enjoy irrespective of differences in their perspectives or positions," Gabal told Romea.cz.
"The school bought instructional tablets, including covers, for all first-graders, and we gave gift certificates to a bookstore to all graduating pupils and members of our school parliament," principal Marcela Prokůpková told news server Romea.cz. "We used some of this financing to pay for an educational program, Studio Karavana, about Europe, for grades 1 through 6, and for an educational program of primary prevention for grades 5 though 9."
"Of the overall amount of CZK 225 000 we have spent CZK 131 209 [EUR 5 050]," the principal said. "I would like to thank all the donors again who supported the school and its pupils in their difficult situation and who also thereby expressed their own attitude and opinion about what is happening in society, who were not indifferent to this."
The school's baton-twirlers, a singer, and a gifted young pianist who are all graduating performed during the celebration, which was attended by parents of the first-graders and ninth-graders. Parent Robert Holubec told Romea.cz that ""All of my children have attended this school."
"My 20-year-old daughter, my 17-year-old boy [went here] and now the youngest, who we have in first grade. My wife and I have traveled with the school during events as chaperones, so we know this school, the teaching faculty, and in our opinion it is super," Holubec said.
"We are glad the public expressed support for the school," the father said. "We also see it as important, mainly, that nothing more [than threats] happened."
"Everybody must know that nothing of this sort should ever repeat itself here again, because what happened was no good," Holubec told Romea.cz. This autumn the Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway and the ROMEA organization will hold a round table on the subject of hate crime and hate speech where experts and representatives of institutions will convene to look for solutions together on how to prevent such displays of hatred and cultivate people's behavior in the public space.
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