Poland: Students Suing Former Minister of Education

Two A-level students decided to sue the ex-Minister of Education Ryszard Legutko for calling them ‘spoiled brats’. Last year Zuzanna and Tomasz, students from Wroclaw, signed a petition asking the headmaster to remove any religious emblems and symbols from their school building. The headmaster refused.

The case was widely discussed in the Polish media in December 2009 and that’s when Mr Legutko, currently a Member of the European Parliament, made a comment calling the students ‘spoiled brats who are only interested in messing around.’ ‘Don’t they really have better things to do so close to their exams?’ the politician asked, suggesting that some sort of punishment for the students in question would not be inappropriate.

The students are now asking for a public apology and 5,000PLN of compensation, which would go to charity.

The Polish internet users comment:

pssz on forum.gazeta.pl:

Crosses are staying so the Church has won. Democracy means the rules of majority but with respecting the rights of minorities. What we have here is the majority dictatorship. Did anyone ask for permission before the crosses went up on the walls? Having a cross on the wall is not even justified in the Bible.

Homo sapiens on forum.gazeta.pl:

The cross can be removed of course and the values that the cross represents can be forgotten. The question is, what comes instead? What have these young people to offer? Nothing.

MrBigB on www.wykop.pl

An aged man has made a comment, whether appropriate or not we can all judge ourselves, but in my opinion it’s pathetic to sue for something like that.

Dorota on forum.gazeta.pl:

I am a Catholic but I agree with these students. They are fighting for tolerance and religious liberty.

Usualgirl writes on her blog:

The thing is, the atheist don’t mind the cross. One of them said that it’s a waste of time to even discuss it because if we go this way we will end up banning the meat adverts as they may offend vegetarians…

Poland is a predominantly Catholic country and the cross in schools and other establishments has always been a slippery subject.

The case is worth following as we can expect a lively discussion in the Polish media and blogosphere.

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