The Prešov District Court ruled that the elementary school in Šarišské Michaľany has been segregating Roma students, noting that 12 of 22 classes consisted only of Roma students, the Sme daily reported. The school has 430 students and about half are Roma, Sme wrote, and the classrooms with Roma-only students are all on a different floor than the non-Roma classrooms.
The school’s head, Mária Cvancigerová, and some of the school’s teachers told Sme that the exclusively Roma classes enable the teachers to pay more attention to the special needs of these children and to slow down the teaching pace when necessary. They also told Sme that parents of non-Roma would take their children from the school and have them commute to other municipalities if faced with the prospect of mixed classes.
The court, however, ordered the school to change the division of students in classrooms in a more balanced way. Cvancigerová said the school would appeal the court’s ruling.
Miroslav Pollák, the Government Proxy for Roma Communities, told the SITA newswire he agreed with the court’s ruling.
"The Office of the Government Proxy for Roma Communities has been recently monitoring cases when schools take into consideration only the social status or the ethnic origin of children when creating classes. The Office considers such a division of children to be discriminatory," Pollák stated, as quoted by SITA.
Source: Sme, SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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