Teacher firing for calling student "terrorist" was justified: ruling
The ROC Mondriaan in The Hague dismissed a teacher because he called a student a "terrorist" while speaking in the teacher's room. The dismissal was justified, the court in The Hague ruled, RTL Nieuws reports.
In December, the 58-year-old teacher at ROC Mondriaan's School for External Care came into the teachers' room annoyed and frustrated after a hairdresser's exam. He expressed his dissatisfaction with a student who came to the exam unprepared, saying that the student didn't bring any hairdressing supplies. According to those present, the teacher then called the student a terrorist. When a colleague admonished him, he said: "You should not get involved, you are a terrorist too, this is my country", according to witnesses.
After the student involved filed a complaint, the school launched an investigation and suspended the teacher. After the investigation, the school terminated his employment contract. According to ROC, the teacher violated the code of conduct that prohibits intimidation, discrimination and bullying. He had also been reprimanded before in 2012 and 2014 for "using unacceptable language". The school then sent him on a course and warned him that repetition could lead to dismissal.
ROC Mondriaan considers the statements the teacher made unacceptable, party because many of the 30 thousand students spread across ROC's 28 schools are from different ethnic backgrounds and religions. His statements also damaged the school's reputation, ROC said.
During the trial, the teacher denied that he called the student and his colleague terrorists. According to him, he was speaking about "students who terrorize the training" and when his colleague asked him if he thought the same about him, he denied that. The teacher also said that he has been teaching students from ethnic minorities for 16 years and never received any complaints about racist or discriminatory treatment.
The court ruled that against the background of witness statements and his later expressed regrets, the teacher's version of events is not believable. Because the man's statements were "discriminatory, inappropriate and not respectful" and contrary to the school's code of conduct, ROC Mondriaan was justified in dismissing him, the court ruled. Because the teacher's behavior was not "seriously culpable", the school still has to pay him severance of more than 50 thousand euros.