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City council sacks head of school where students bullied teacher

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Prague, Feb 24 (CTK) – The Prague City Council on Wednesday unanimously dismissed Frantisek Bartl as head teacher of a secondary technical school in Prague, where three students bullied a female teacher for a long time before her death a few weeks ago, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolinek told journalists.

The school was established and has been run by the City Hall.

The school management punished the three students with suspended expulsion in January.

The case has been checked by the Czech School Inspection.

A tender for a new head teacher will be put up, Dolinek said.

The 55-year-old teacher of English and Russian was evidently bullied by the tree students for a long time. They were punished for it with a lower mark for conduct and a suspended expulsion from the school in January.

The teacher died shortly afterwards.

The school management previously said the teacher died of health troubles and there was no connection between her death and the students’ behaviour to her. Bartl refused to resign over the case.

After more student-recorded videos showed even more serious bullying practices appeared recently, the school management said the punishment of the aggressors may be tightened. They are threatened with definitive expulsion.

The step is yet to be decided on.

“We want to work with the three students, and also with their parents. The bullying of the teacher was watched by more students. It will be necessary to work with the whole class,” Dolinek said on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the school was visited by Education Minister Katerina Valachova.

¨She said she will prepare new directives to raise the legal protection and safety at schools. For example, they would enable an immediate expulsion of aggressors among students from schools.

During his visit to the Liberec Region, north Bohemia, on Wednesday, President Milos Zeman said the main organiser of the bullying in the Prague secondary school should be placed in a correctional facility.

A suspended expulsion is too soft a sentence for such an aggressor, since he can be admitted by another school, Zeman said.

He said it would be good from the point of view of prevention if mild physical punishments were allowed at schools.

“A properly targeted slap can solve a lot,” Zeman said.

He said he has personal experience with this.

“My mother was an elementary school teacher. She had a wooden spoon at home, which she brought to school and used it to thrash the backsides of schoolchildren, including mine, as she was my teacher for about two years,” Zeman said.

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