2008 08/11

Іван ШылаJudge Volha Prakapovich turned down the lawsuit of Ualdzimir Shyla concerning the illegality of expulsion of his son, Ivan Shyla, from Salihorsk secondary school #4.

Salihorsk court considered Uladzimir Shyla’s lawsuit in which the plaintiff demanded that the town education department found unlawful the expulsion of Ivan Shyla from school. The trial was attended by human rights activist Valiantsin Stefanovich. Mr. Stefanovich told Radio ‘Liberty’ that at first the court listened to the plaintiff’s demands and then questioned several witnesses.

‘Representatives of the official side disagree with the demands presented in the lawsuit. They think they did right when they expelled Ivan Shyla from school, and refer to the school charter, the school regulations, the ruling concerning the schools of general education and secondary schools. Representatives of the education departments argue that in certain cases the pupils that reach 15 years can be expelled from school for gross violations of discipline and internal regulations.’

A deputy head of the Young Front Ivan Shyla was expelled from school in April 2008, the day before his last exam, the English language.

Valiantsin Stefanovich thinks that the political sympathies of Ivan Shyla are the main reason for his harassment. ‘As human rights activists, we think that the trait of discriminative approach can be seen here. For instance, I talked to many schoolmasters and none of them told me about any expulsions. On the contrary, even the worst pupils are pulled to the finish of school learning. When I observe this trial, I get the impression that not all of it is connected with missing of classes by Ivan Shyla. Ivan Shyla was not an excellent pupil, but he was not the worst one either. He was an average pupil. He was not the worst of the average pupils, but one of the best among this group.’

In June the pedagogical council of secondary school #4 let the youth activist sit his exams. However, on the demand from Minsk authorities this decision was voted once again, and this time the council voted for his expulsion. The schoolmaster Volha Siankova retired from her position as a sign of protest, and the deputy schoolmaster on education, Alena Semchanka, was fired because of ‘bad work’.

Ivan Shyla was told that instead of sitting the exam at his school, he could take the extern exam in English in June.

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