Around Slovakia

WILL the teacher, who allegedly used bad language, be punished?
photo: SME - Michal Piško

Teacher in trouble for bad language

A TEACHER who allegedly called pupils "lisping punk" and "squinting moron" is facing disciplinary proceedings from the local education authority.
According to the SME daily, the elementary school teacher, Zora Laceková, had also been bullying the pupils. One of the pupils' mothers, Renáta Kusendová, submitted a complaint to the authorities and withdrew her son from the school.
Kusendová alleges that apart from calling the pupils bad names, Laceková also gave some pupils seven Fs within three days. "I also heard from the kids that she would drink beer during classes," Kusendová told SME.
Laceková denies the allegations and the school principal Miroslav Žákovic stands by her.
"The parents often take an interest in what was done to their children but not in what their children did to others," he said.
The daily reported that a major conflict between the pupils and the teacher started just before this year's spring holiday.
After the lessons were over some pupils complained to the teacher that five boys had bullied another pupil, Matúš.
"They told me that four of them grabbed Matúš by his arms and legs and the fifth one tickled him and pulled his trousers down. I think that's bullying," said Laceková.
She decided to punish the alleged bullies by giving them an oral exam after the vacation.
"They knew I would test them before the holiday. They did not know the subject and got Fs," she said.
The teacher denies that she took revenge on the pupils or that she would ever call them "squinting" and "lisping". She admitted, however, that she was very scared for Matúš and, overcome with anger, called the boys "morons, donkeys and idiots".
However, Matúš's mother denied that his fellow pupils bullied her son. "He did not say anything at home and I only found out about its from Mrs Laceková. I guess it was just some sort of heckling. I also went to the school and stood up for the boys," Matúš's mother, Katarína Vavrová said.
Matúš had previously suffered a bad head injury and Vavrová therefore says she believes the teacher when she says she was scared for Matúš.
According to psychologist Ladislav Kvasnička, such cases are hard to judge. He said that children sometimes make up things just to cover up for their wrongdoings.
But if it is proven that the teacher really abused the children verbally, Kvasnička said he would "strongly demand that she be fired".

Jewish museum to open

THE MOURNING house in Lučenec's Jewish cemetery is to be turned into a museum.
photo: SME - Ján Krošlák

THE JEWISH cemetery in Lučenec is one of the best preserved in Slovakia. The local Jewish community recently reconstructed the cemetery's mourning house.
Now, the 18th century building will be turned into a museum documenting the history and culture of the town's Jewish community, the SME daily reported.
Helena Vajová, the head of Lučenec's Jewish community, told the daily that for years the town did not have its own rabbi and that it would also be problematic to gain a sufficient number of Jewish men for the traditional burial ceremonies.
Vajová said that several families in Lučenec still own precious archives that are mainly related to the tragic period of the Holocaust, but also to earlier times when the local Jewish community was living in peace and flourished.
She said help with setting up the museum could also come from those who left Slovakia and currently live in the US or Israel.
"The families still keep in touch and whenever they come to Slovakia, they always visit the cemetery," she said.
The Jewish community also wants to ask their countrymen who now live abroad for help with repairing the most precious tombstones as well.

Nobel winner visits wife's hometown

ROBERT Engle, a world famous economist who won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2003, visited Prešov as part of his recent European tour, the Pravda daily reported.
Engle and his wife Marianna went to the eastern Slovak city of Prešov because her family lived there until the Communist regime forced her parents to leave their homeland.
Marianna Engle's family left Czechoslovakia in 1949 following the communist take over.
According to the daily, the parents fled the regime because the communists were threatening to kill Marianna's father if he did not join the Communist Party.
Engle won the Nobel Prize for his Arch model of decreasing risks for investing during fluctuations in the financial markets.

Multiple killer found dead

A 38-year-old man who killed two members and severely wounded two more members of the same family in the village of Mýtne Ludany on March 24 was found dead on March 30, three days after he killed himself.
Hundreds of police had been hunting Milan Rafael for the murder of two members of the Kováč family, the 48-year-old father and his 20-year-old son. Rafael also severely wounded the 39-year-old mother and 18-year-old daughter.
He then fled the scene in an orange Mercedes. The search for him included traffic police, masked commandos and border police, the TASR news agency reported.
Police had announced that a reward would be paid for information leading to Rafael's arrest. Rafael had been released from detention just one day before the massacre. He had been held in custody for a previous assault on the 18-year-old daughter of the same family.
According to the daily SME, the family had no idea that Rafael had been released from custody. He had been arrested after the daughter filed a complaint against him.
Slovakia lacks a system, which guarantees that witnesses are informed when a criminal whose case they are involved in is released from custody, according to SME.
When asked how it is possible to take three days to find a body Police Vice-President Jaroslav Spišiak said the police had been seeking a dangerous murderer and not a dead person, the daily reported.

Record set for en-masse downhill

A TOTAL of 133 skiers set the Slovak record for en-masse downhill skiing March 28 in Handlová. The feat will go down as an official Slovak record.
The line of skiers connected by a rope and moving in a single line, successfully negotiated the 360-metre downhill course. Not a single skier fell over, meaning the attempt was judged valid.
Igor Svitok, of the Slovak records group, told the SITA news agency that the Guinness Book of World Records does not list such a record. It only records a world best for the largest number of cross-country skiers, he said.
The Slovak team will therefore have their record reviewed for possible entry into the famous book of world records.

Police officer in death crash allegedly drunk

A POLICE officer from Nováky is facing criminal charges following a car accident on the morning of March 19 in which a man was killed. The off-duty officer was driving his own Seat Cordoba at the time of the accident.
According to the TASR news agency, the 24-year-old unnamed policeman had traces of alcohol in his blood and refused to give evidence to investigators.
He was later taken to hospital, having suffered serious injuries and having left the scene of the accident, said Trenčín Regional Police spokeswoman Lenka Bušová.
The off-duty officer's car swerved off the road and hit a tree. A 36-year-old male passenger died immediately. Several people testified that the impact was so fierce that the vehicle cut the treetop off.

photo: TASR - Svätopluk Písecký

Easter traditions keep alive

A POSEE of young men in the eastern Slovak city of Košice marches away on an extensive Easter mission March 21.
Every year for 24 years, the male members of the Borievka folk ensemble have observed tradition by whipping and pouring water over the ensemble's female members on Easter Monday.
They carry long willow-braided whips decorated with "trophy" ribbons, as each whipped girl has to "pay" for the privilege by tying a ribbon to the instrument of torture.
The boys then throw buckets of water over the grateful girls, completely soaking them.

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