Translated by Thomas from Telegraaf:
Dutch high-school bans Charlie Hebdo cartoons
The management of the Dutch high-school “Kennemer College” in Heemskerk has banned a Charlie Hebdo poster of a Muslim man kissing a cartoonist that was put on the wall by one of its teachers. This was done after predominantly Muslim students complained about the poster. “They responded very emotionally to the poster and experienced it as offensive. We are talking about children aged between 12 and 15 years old, who are attending vocational training and don’t understand the French text (l’amour plus fort que la haine – love is stronger than hate). They don’t understand the nuances, and experience the picture, that was published in a newspaper, as offensive to their faith”, explains school principal Marleen Lemstra. But not all parents are pleased with the measures taken by the school’s management and have complained to the school.
The world turned upside down
“After what happened in Paris, this is the world turned upside down. A teacher has to go to all classrooms to apologize because students of Moroccan and Turkish descent complain about a magazine that has always put the freedom of speech center stage”, some mothers point out. School principal Lemstra however, thinks that the decision to remove the poster was the right thing to do. “Off course there is freedom of speech here, but it must be respectful and not oversimplified. Pamphlets and posters do not belong in a school. Teachers want to have a discussion with the students, we do not walk away from that. But one must also be aware of the fact that this group of students does not understand the poster. And let’s face it, we know that the magazine Charlie Hebdo was pushing the boundaries. That is sometimes offensive. Do we want that in a school? Also tolerance has it’s boundaries.
Letter of apology
“The school board has sent the following letter of apology to all parents:
To our regret a teacher today put a poster on the wall that was offensive and does not match with our school’s policy. After a number of students complained about the poster, the school’s management immediately intervened and removed the poster. The teacher that put the poster up has been reprimanded.
In addition, our team leader went to all classrooms to make clear that a grave mistake has been made by the teacher and that the school board wishes to apologizes to everybody. The teacher expressed his deep regret and said that he did not intend to hurt anybody. All he wanted was to demonstrate his solidarity with victims of the Paris attacks.
Where necessary, there have been talks at school with students so they could tell their story. Also in class the events in Paris have been discussed.
I hope this provides you with sufficient information.
School Principal Kennemer College”