Danish school bans pupils from speaking foreign languages

speech-or-languageA school in Odense on the Danish island of Funen has prohibited students from speaking in their own languages during break time.

Pupils at Seden School have had the ban enforced after a recent series of incidents involving bilingual students who are alleged to have harassed and shouted at fellow students and teachers.

The ban was introduced by school management in conjunction with the teaching staff at the educational facility where some 30 percent of students are bilingual. Those pupils who choose to ignore the ban will find their parents called in for ‘consultations’ reports Politiken.

However, the ban has led to school Headmaster Carsten Hoyer being reported to police for breaches of the Danish constitution governing free speech.

“It is worrying that the headmaster of a school that has to educate pupils to be citizens in a democracy should introduce restrictions on the freedom of speech. This doesn’t belong in a democracy and is typically something that we see in police states,” said the editor of the website denmarkonline and Unity List party member Flemming Leer Jakobsen.

Bertel Haarder, the Danish Education Minister, said that students must respect teachers but declined to intervene. “I don’t think that this sanction is particularly serious or a violation. Bad language is not acceptable either in Danish or Arabic. The important thing it to stop it, and not what rules are in place,” said Haarder.

The ban will run until the 15th of January with the school also outlawing corridor loitering and increasing student monitoring.

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