Teachers could end up being prosecuted says observer

[25.03.2009, The Slovak Spectator, NEWS]

Teachers - who should, according to new legislation, become public officials as of September 2009 - could end up being prosecuted for giving students grades that are considered inappropriate, said Ondrej Dostál, the head of the M.R. ©tefánik Conservative Institute in reaction to a new amendment to the Education Employees Act.

Parents could press charges against teachers based on the law pertaining to the misuse of the authority of public officials if teachers give out grades that parents deem to be unobjective, said Dostál. He added that the objectivity issue should be handled at the level of teacher-parent relations, and not by the Criminal Code. Dostál said that if the amendment is approved by Parliament, it could be misused to threaten teachers, the TASR newswire wrote.

According to the Education Ministry, the status of public officials should provide teachers with better protection against aggressive students or their parents. Dostál noted, however, that this legal norm won't be effective in the case of students aged up to 13, who can't be held criminally responsible. Moreover, said Dostál, it won’t be possible to punish teenagers of up to 18 years of age for verbal or physical attacks against teachers, because such attacks are considered to be misdemeanours in the case of teenagers, and are treated lightly.

Article was published in the Slovakia`s English-language weekly The Slovak Spectator.