Prague Students March in Support of Their Teacher

Petr Janiš

On Monday morning, a unique protest unfolded before the Prague City Hall. More than a hundred students from the mechanical engineering school in Betlémská Street arrived there. Armed with banners calling for the dismissal of Director Miroslav Žilka and the retention of English teacher Milan Šanda at the school, they brought a petition with more than seven hundred signatures.

“We are aware that personnel changes are entirely and only in the director’s competencies, but this is about an unjustified dismissal and mistakes in personnel work,” the petition states. It also highlights that 14 teachers, often erudite, had to leave the school in the last two years. Šanda is a class teacher in the graduation year.

Councilor Antonín Klecanda (STAN), who visited the school in the morning with the Director of the Department of Education Lenka Němcová, spoke with the protesters. They asked Director Žilka to take back the notice he gave to the graduation class teacher. “The director said he tried, but the teacher did not agree,” Klecanda described to Novinky and Právo.

According to him, changing teachers to fourth-year students two months before graduation is not happy, and the counselor would like teacher Šanda to complete the school year. The situation in the school can now only be solved by the labor inspectorate, which will assess whether the director’s reproaches to teachers are justified.

A competition for the position of director of the industrial school in Betlémská will be held because the director’s six-year period is ending. In some cases, the city council does not approach competitions after six years, but in Betlémská, it was appropriate according to the councilor. “The competition was also announced at the recommendation of the school board. We will see how it turns out,” added Klecanda. In Prague, the term of office is now ending for about 90 directors of secondary schools.