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