French teacher 'suspended for too much Holocaust'
A Jewish French history teacher said Tuesday that she had been suspended for spending too much time teaching her pupils about the Holocaust and for organising trips to former Nazi death camps.
A lawyer acting for Catherine Pederzoli, a 58-year-old secondary teacher in the eastern town of Nancy, said her client had been accused by administrators of teaching the World War II massacres with insufficient "neutrality".
"If this teacher had been a Christian, no-one would have accused her of brain-washing," alleged lawyer Christine Tadic. "Isn't it the case that this teacher's fault is to have been Jewish?"
Nancy local education authorities were not immediately available to respond to the charge, but a report compiled by school inspectors revealed that they did have concerns over Pederzoli's teaching of the Holocaust.
The report, compiled last month, alleged the teacher took up too much time preparing pupils for annual school trips to Poland and the Czech Republic to visit sites like the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.
A copy of the report, seen by AFP, accuses Pederzoli of "lacking distance, neutrality and secularism" in teaching the Holocaust and of manipulating her charges through a process of "brain-washing".
In December some of the teacher's pupils staged a protest during a visit to the Henri-Loritz High School by Education Minister Luc Chatel, complaining that the number of places on the Holocaust field trips had been reduced.
Authorities suspect Pederzoli of inciting the protest.
Tadic said that her client had organised the trips without facing any complaints for 15 years before she found herself unfairly targeted by a new school management team that arrived in 2007.
The lawyer lodged a complaint on Tuesday seeking a court injunction to annul the suspension. Judges have two weeks to make a ruling.
© 2010 AFP