Teacher in France suspended for reading Bible to pupils in class

Teacher in France suspended for reading Bible to pupils in class
A file photo of a French school. Photo: AFP
A teacher in central France has been suspended after he read passages of the bible to his primary school pupils. Educagtion authorities in the staunchly secular country have been accused of overreacting.
The teacher was suspended from his school in Malicornay, in the department of Indre, after reading Bible passages to pupils aged between nine and 11.
Parents of pupils in the class objected to the teacher’s lessons, writing an anonymous letter to the headmaster in complaint, reported France Bleu radio.
The headmaster then decided to suspend the teacher for his apparent disregard of France’s strict secularism laws that separate religion from public sphere, in particular in education.
A substitute teacher has been called in while the national education board reviews the case.
The local mayor said that the suspension was a “disproportionate measure” and that the teacher was actually “very much appreciated” by the pupils and parents.
France takes the principal of secularism – or laïcité as it is called in French – very seriously, however it is unusual to hear of a teacher being suspended for reading a passage from the Bible.
Teachers are indeed allowed to teach about holy books like the Bible or Koran, but they are strictly forbidden from attempting to convert students or preach about a religion.
A desire to reinforce secularism and keep religion out of French schools was taken in September 2013 when each establishment was ordered by law to put a charter.
The document must appear in a prominent place in every school, in the form of a poster and was designed to remind teachers and pupils of a list of 15 secular, Republican principles.
France unveils 'secular charter' for all schools

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Taiwan students who dressed as Nazis forced to attend Holocaust ceremony

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YNET – Students from a Taiwan high school who dressed as Nazis during a school function attended a ceremony marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the Taiwan National Library after being invited by the Israeli Representative to Taiwan, Asher Yarden.

Two months ago, the incident set off a firestorm when students dressed as Nazis gave Nazi salutes and paraded around with Swastika-laden flags.

Photo from the high school Nazi parade

Taiwanese officials admitted that ignorance of the Holocaust exists and as an educational gesture, the students were invited to a ceremony at the Taiwan National Library in which 550 people attended, including the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, and the country’s deputy minister of education.

Outside of the auditorium, an exhibition entitled “Shoah” was put on by Yad Vashem, where it will remain in the national library until May.

In her remarks, President Tsai Ing-wen thanked the ceremony’s organizers and stressed that there is a need to expand the very limited knowledge that exists in Taiwan on the issue.

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