No. 07-00-259/2017-02 Date: 12 October 2017
The present opinion was issued following a complaint procedure initiated upon a complaint lodged by Đ. A. From S. on behalf of her daughter G.S. who is a minor, against “I.” primary school in S. and N.M. who is the School Principal. In her complaint, the complainant stated that student G.S. suffers from an untreatable illness and that in her school she had been exposed to peer violence such as rejection, humiliation, making video clips which show her walking after being injured, refusal by students to sit with her, persuading others not to sit with her, ridiculing, deriding. In her complaint, the mother also stated that she thought that her daughter G.S. had been discriminated against by her friends on account of her illness and that the School Principal had not taken adequate action to protect G.S. as a victim of peer violence. Furthermore, the complainant stated that the School Principal had taken a decision mandating all students to leave the classroom during recess time and as a result, G.S. was left alone in the classroom during breaks between classes. In his declaration to explain his actions, the School Principal stated that the aim of such decision was to “protect student G.S. in the best possible way” and enable homeroom class students to have the same routine as other students in the school, namely, after each class all students leave that particular classroom and go off to another classroom where they wait for their next school subject teacher. In his declaration, the School Principal stated that thus “student safety is enhanced as duty teachers are in hallways and all hallways are covered by video surveillance”, that the school continues to implement preemptive actions aimed at preventing all forms of violence and that the school had established the Team for the protection against violence, abuse and neglect which is in charge of student safety. In the course of the complaint procedure it has been ascertained that the school had failed to take adequate and efficient measures aimed at protecting student G.S. and that by introducing a rule according to which all students of G.S.’s homeroom class must leave classroom during recess time and stay in school hallways, G.S. was put in a particularly disadvantaged position on account of her health condition and was exposed to separation and social exclusion. With reference to all of the above said, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality has issued an opinion stating that by failing to undertake adequate and efficient measures aimed at protecting student G.S. who is a minor and by introducing the rule according to which all students must leave their classroom during recess time, “I.” primary school in S. had violated provisions of Article 7 in relation to Articles 19 and 27 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. For this reason, a recommendation was issued to “I.” primary school in S. to amend its decision according to which all students must leave the classroom during recess time and be in school hallways, in such a way as not to support social exclusion of student G.S. from other students in her homeroom class and the school itself, and to undertake measures and activities geared towards fostering tolerance, awareness raising, understanding discrimination, and improving protection against discrimination of students and school staff members, in order to preempt discrimination and peer violence, and to refrain in the future from violating anti-discrimination regulations when performing its regular work and activities.
|COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY