Małgorzata Moskwa-Wodnicka, the vice-president of Łódź responsible for education, was summoned to the prosecutor’s office as a witness. Investigators – after notifying the Ministry of Education and Science – check whether she may have been abusing her powers. It is about the suspension by the city authorities of the headmaster of the XXXIV High School, who chased students for using the lightning bolts from the Women’s Strike.
The deputy mayor of Łódź appeared at the building of the Łódź-Polesie District Prosecutor’s Office on Monday at 11.00 a.m. The investigators summoned her for questioning as a witness. Several dozen minutes earlier, Moscow-Wodnicka met with journalists gathered under the prosecutor’s office.
– If I had to make such a decision (to suspend the director – editor), I would have made it. Principal XXXIV blatantly exceeded his powers: he could not accept the school regulations, because such regulations could be adopted by the pedagogical council through the school statute – emphasized the vice-president of Łódź.
She pointed out that the director was alleged to infringe the constitutional right to freedom:
– Students have the right to express their views. The Ombudsman was also involved in the case, emphasized Moscow-Wodnicka.
She pointed out that this was the first time that “local government officials and public officials were dragged after the prosecution offices”.
Moscow-Wodnicka: it’s about intimidation
– I perceive it as a form of intimidation of the local government member by Minister Czarnek. I would call the regulations to be introduced, not “Lex Czarnek”, but “lex fear”. The point is to intimidate teachers and principals – emphasized the vice president.
“Lex Czarnek” is a term for changes in pedagogical supervision planned by the government of Law and Justice. Last week, changes in the education law were submitted to social and inter-ministerial consultations. They primarily assume strengthening the role of school superintendents and their greater influence on school principals, including non-public schools.
Even earlier, non-governmental organizations and educational circles protested against these changes, incl. trade unions and local government corporations.
It started with lightning during the Women’s Strike
We describe the story of the tension between the director of the XXXIV High School and the city authorities in detail on tvn24.pl from April. It started with the director Dariusz Jakóbek introduced new regulations at school prohibiting the placement of graphic signs referring to, inter alia, political parties, associations, organizations referring to political activities, or with a vulgar overtone.
Shortly thereafter, students had problems who – during remote classes – had in their avatar the sign of the lightning bolt used by the Women’s Strike. According to the new regulations, for placing this sign, one could get negative points, be suspended from the student’s rights and even be expelled from school. One of the high school students said in front of the TVN24 camera that she had already received negative points twice for this reason.
The city authorities found the regulations in force in LO XXXIV as inadmissible. In April, Małgorzata Moskwa-Wodnicka was called to the prosecutor’s office and emphasized that the students’ rights had been violated. Therefore suspended Jakóbek from the duties of the director and addressed – to the teachers’ disciplinary committee at the Łódź voivode – a request to initiate disciplinary proceedings in connection with “violation of the teacher’s dignity” by the headmaster of the secondary school.
However, the suspension did not last long. In June, the minister of education and science, Przemysław Czarnek, informed in social media that the appeals disciplinary committee for teachers in his ministry had overruled the decision of the Łódź authorities.
A few weeks earlier, the minister decided about awarding director Jakóbek the most important sign in education – the Medal of the National Education Commission for the same actions for which the authorities of Łódź demanded that the director be punished.
At the same time, the ministry sent a notification to the prosecutor’s office regarding the suspension of the director – according to the ministry, there was a suspicion that the authorities of Łódź exceeded their powers.
City: the school has suffered
The confusion around the new regulations and the decision of the reinstated headmaster had a negative impact – according to local government officials in Łódź – on the school’s reputation.
It turned out that significantly in this year’s recruitment to secondary schools interest in the facility decreased. In the first preference, only 23 candidates selected the school, and 90 places were planned. A linguistic-natural-mathematical class was selected by two candidates; in the humanities – nine, and with a linguistic and geographical profile – 12 eighth graders. A year after electronic recruitment, two classes of 30 students were created, among the candidates there were also those with the maximum possible number of points, i.e. 200.
– This year the bar has dropped significantly, and there were definitely fewer applicants – emphasized Vice President Moscow-Wodnicka. – It is difficult to look for reasons other than the politicization of the school and its distinction in this and no other way by Minister Czarnek. In addition, there was excessive interest in the PiS politicians’ school – she added.
The vice president was summoned as a witness