They say Kyiv is not burning. The case of a teacher teaching Russian propaganda to children is heading to court

They say Kyiv is not burning. The case of a teacher teaching Russian propaganda to children is heading to court
They say Kyiv is not burning. The case of a teacher teaching Russian propaganda to children is heading to court

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The case of a Czech woman who passed on information spread by Russian propaganda to pupils in the eighth grade during an explanation about the war in Ukraine is heading to court.

In response to the incident, the school management fired the teacher, the cantor decided to defend herself. “The teacher filed a lawsuit stating that she does not agree with the termination,” Renata Riedlová, the principal of Na Dlouhém lánu Elementary School, told Seznam Zprávy.

“Mrs. Bednářová objects that the notice was invalid,” said the school’s legal representative, Jakub Blažek. “The client’s position is that the notice is valid,” he added, adding that “the client does not want to comment on the details until the court hearing.”

The attitude of teacher Martina Bednářová or the reasons why she decided to go to court could not be ascertained. “She is not interested in communicating anything to the media this time either,” her lawyer Jana Kudynová wrote to the editors in an SMS message.

“Nothing Happens in Kyiv”

In April of this year, Seznam Zprávy drew attention to the case when Martina Bednářová explained the war in Ukraine in a composition lesson in such a way that the pupils began to doubt the information given and recorded the interpretation.

The Terén show, which was based on an 18-minute long audio recording that students made in style class because of the teacher’s approach to facts, caused negative feedback.

What was heard during the lesson of style

Excerpts from the audio recording made by the children during the lesson can be heard in the report of Kristina Ciroková’s Terén program.

On the recording, the teacher explains to the eighth graders, for example, that since 2014 the Ukrainians have been systematically exterminating the Russian population in the Donbass.

“Those Russians were killed in that region of Donetsk and Luhansk, liquidated just because they were Russians. And they were actually liquidated by Ukrainian Nazi groups in such a way that the door to the barrack was slammed, the barrack was set on fire, people were flayed alive, children were murdered, etc. And this has been going on constantly since 2014,” the teacher spreads the narrative presented on the recording by the Kremlin to justify an attack on a neighboring country.

Martina Bednářová also claimed to the children during class that nothing was happening in Kyiv, which was then being bombarded by Russian rockets. “When you look at Kyiv, what are the cameras from the city. Just yesterday, I deleted it, coincidentally I ran out of a picture of contemporary Kyiv. It’s like nothing is happening there,” declared the teacher, in whose class at the same time a Ukrainian student was sitting, who had to leave her country because of the war.

When the schoolchildren began to argue that they had seen on the news that Kyiv was burning, she asked them if they meant the Czech Television news, and then began to explain to them that they had to look for information in several sources. “ČT1 belongs to a group of media that are tied to the billionaire Soros. And we know exactly who it is payable to,” the teacher used the often reported misinformation.

In a statement to Seznam Zprávy shortly after the incident was published, the Czech woman did not admit that she had made any mistakes in teaching. She claimed that she presented verified facts to the children. “In class, we dealt with today’s much-discussed topic of the Russian-Ukrainian war and brief, clear histories of both states. I only worked with verified and historically documented facts,” said Bednářová.

Punish the children

The founder of Na Dlouhé lánu school is Prague 6. Its mayor Ondřej Kolář (TOP 09) has previously supported the progress of the school director and that has not changed. “As a city district, we are convinced that the school management acted correctly and in accordance with the law in this matter,” said Prague 6 spokesman Jiří Hannich.

The director of the school stated that several reasons were described in the statement why the school was terminating the cantor’s employment. According to Renata Riedlová, one of them was that the teacher “gave false information to the children”.

Even before the lawsuit was filed, the Czech woman sent a letter to director Riedl through her lawyer. She complained that the school management did not explain to her the reasons why she was not allowed to come to work. After the principal obtained an audio recording of the lessons from the pupils, she sent them home for so-called “obstacles”.

In the letter, Martina Bednářová also drew attention to the fact that the child who recorded her had violated the school rules, and she wanted to know whether the headmistress dealt with the student in question in a disciplinary manner and with what result.

“We are very happy that the recording was made,” said school director Riedlová at the time. “Otherwise, we would have no chance of finding out in any way what exactly happened in that classroom, and it would just be an allegation against an allegation. The students waited for some time, the recording was not for the whole hour, but at the moment when they realized that it didn’t belong there,” she explained why she would not intervene against the children.

Police are still investigating

It is still possible that spreading misinformation on school grounds will also have criminal consequences.

Since April, Prague criminal investigators have been dealing with the case, who responded to information published in the media. The police have already questioned the school principal and some other teachers.

“The case is still under investigation and there is nothing new to publish,” Prague police spokesman Jan Daněk told Seznam Zprávy.

The article is in Czech

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