Teachers ordered to stay away from pupils
ANTALYA - Doğan News Agency | 10/13/2011 12:00:00 AM |
Teachers in a public high school in Antalya have been given a notice to maintain a distance of at least one meter from their students to avoid incidents of sexual abuse
Teachers in a public high school in the Mediterranean province of Antalya have been given a notice to maintain a distance of at least one meter from their students to avoid incidents of sexual abuse, drawing criticism from teachers’ unions.
“It goes against the fundamental principles of education to depict all teachers and students as molesters. This decision humiliates both students and teachers. We vehemently reject it,” said Nurettin Sönmez, Antalya branch head of the Education and Science Personnel Union (Eğitim-Sen).
Headmaster İlhami Kotan of Antalya’s Muratpaşa High School issued the notice on Sept. 30 to its teachers in the fifth article of an 18-point memo.
“The distance will not be less than one meter to avoid encountering such situations as sexual exploitation,” read the notice.
The notice was based on a decision reached during a school presided over by Erdem Kaya, education director for Antalya’s central Muratpaşa district. The District Education Directorate’s decision was then relayed to school headmasters in the area.
“The mentality that launched an inquiry against the teachers who condemned the molestation in Kaş (in Antalya) through a press declaration in recent days could only prevent harassment through such methods,” Eğitim-Sen’s Nurettin Sönmez said, adding that the decision was not yet put into effect in all schools. Some, such as the Muratpaşa High School, had issued the notice to their teachers.
Further confusion arose regarding the question of whether the article was implying the distance between male and female students, or the distance between male teachers and female students, according to reports.
“There is an ambiguous expression in the statement, but such an announcement that the students cannot be closer than a meter to each other is out of the question,” said Antalya Deputy Gov. Halil Serdar Cevheroğlu, who is responsible for education.
Education Director Kaya also issued a written statement indicating the provision had nothing to do with students and concerned only teachers. The provision was merely a reminder intended to protect the teachers, he said.