Abuse of Romani students in Macedonian schools
15 July 1999
Recent instances of abuse of Roma have been reported in Macedonian schools.
In one reported case, a teacher at the Slaveo Stojmenski primary school in the eastern Macedonian town of Vinica reportedly physically mistreated eight-year-old Sunil Mustafov. One day in late September 1998 he came back from school and complained to his parents that his teacher beat him with a stick and slapped him in the face. The boy's knee was swollen and bruised. The next day his mother, Ms Jaša Mustafova, went to school to talk to the teacher in question as well as the principal. The explanation which the teacher provided was that after breaks the boy did not come back to the classes in time, and stayed to play in the yard with other children instead. Despite the mother's protest, no measures of any kind were taken against the teacher. Mr Gento Mustafov, the father of the family, told the ERRC that the boy did not attend school anymore after the incident.
A second reported case concerns Šenil Asanov, a 14-year-old Romani boy from the same school, who has been transferred to another school for reasons of unexplained absence, even though the absence was excused. In late October 1998, Šenil fell ill with influenza, and when he went to seek medical help the doctor wrote him a note with her signature and stamp. When in December he started regularly attending school again and brought the doctor's note, his teacher declared it false. On February 8, 1999, the principal of the school sent a note to Šenil's father, saying that, under Article 42 of the Manual on Pedagogical Measures for Elementary School Students, Šenil was given an unsatisfactory grade for behaviour and was to be transferred to another school. One of the reasons provided for the measure taken was his improper attitude to other students. When he was interviewed by the ERRC on April 26, Šenil Asanov could not recall any problems with either his colleagues or teachers in the school prior to being transferred. Also, in the principal's note, Šenil was transferred to another school for irregular attendance of classes, having missed 126 classes according to the school authorities. Not including the periods of absence covered by the doctor's note, Šenil's unauthorised absence from school was only 18 classes, which does not suffice for the measure applied.