Parents: "institutional racism" behind closure of mostly-minority school

A group of parents will be protesting in front of Rotterdam's city hall on Wednesday against the closing of primary school De Verbinding in the Zevenkamp neighborhood. According to the parents, "institutional racism in education" is to blame for the closing of this school and the school was never given a fair chance.

De Verbinding scored above average results in the Cito-test, but has to close due to a shortage in pupils, according to RTV Rijnmond.

According to the broadcaster, CDA alderman Hugo de Jonge had reservations about the director of the school from the start, because the director was previously involved in the mismanagement of Muslim school De Dialoog. "He systematically slandered us", Shaief Basier, chairman of De Verbinding's supervisory board, said to the broadcaster about De Jonge.

Both parents and the school board accuse the authorities of "institutional racism" in the closing of this minority school, according to AfroMagazine. "Alderman Hugo de Jonge even went so far as to send letters to parents advising them to look for another school. This resulted in only 26 pupils remaining", a spokesperson for the school board said to the magazine, calling this interference "unconstitutional". "Without municipal opposition, De Verbinding could have helped more underprivileged children, especially from disadvantage families."

According to Basier, the Education Inspectorate rated the school as weak, but only looked at the school's methods, not results. "The excellent results in the Cito-test show that we are not a weak school", he said to RTV Rijnmond.

Parents agree. "My kids had a low level at another school, but because my daughter now had the time to work at her own speed, she is in Group 2 and scored only A's. Zhe now works at her pace and makes progress. At De Verbinding the teacher spends time on your child, regardless of color and race", one parent said to AfroMagazine.