Roma representatives have accused a state school in the northeastern city of Iasi of deliberately segregating Roma or Gypsy pupils from Romanian pupils.
The Roma Party “Pro Europe” Association claimed the school purposely moved Roma pupils into separate classes and gave them different breaks so they wouldn’t interact with Romanian pupils. The school has denied the accusations.
The row was sparked after several classes from the Titu Maiorescu school, considered one of the best in Iasi, were moved to the Ion Neculce school a few hundred meters away, where 80% of the 200 pupils are Roma.
The decision by authorities to relocate was made after Titu Maiorescu became oversubscribed.
Ahead of the move, pupils from the Ion Neculce school were moved to the first floor of the building while the new pupils were given the ground floor. “It would have been simpler to merge the two schools, but this solution was not wanted,” Viorel Motas, the school inspector for minorities in Iasi was quoted as telling the Adevarul newspaper.
The paper reported that the Iasi School Inspectorate in the city even planned to create separate entrances and separate toilet facilities for the pupils, according to Elena Motas, an advisor for Roma issues at the Iasi Prefect’s Office.
School principal Oana Ichim called the accusations “completely unfounded” and there was no evidence to back them up. She told Libertatea that the pupils had different breaks as the school had too few toilets.
Another case was reported at the Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu school in Iasi, which was recently sanctioned together with the Iasi School Inspectorate, for moving moslyt Roma pupils to a separate wing of the building.
Studies show that classes with a majority of Roma students also get less trained teachers, fewer resources, therefore, lower quality education, according to sociologist Gelu Duminica, quoted by Adevarul. “When we teach them not to communicate between themselves, to hate each other, we teach them that the other is inferior just because he has a disability, is poorer or has a different color, what will the citizen of tomorrow look like?”