Angry expat parents battle school authority
25 February 2005 , AMSTERDAM — A group of expat parents in Hilversum is taking legal action to prevent the relocation of the Violen School International Department. They have rejected the new location because of safety concerns and have accused the city council of breaking promises.
25 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — A group of expat parents in Hilversum is taking legal action to prevent the relocation of the Violen School International Department. They have rejected the new location because of safety concerns and have accused the city council of breaking promises.
Hilversum City Council and the Hilversum Primary Education Foundation — which has had authority over the school since 1 January 2005 — will be summoned to court to explain the planned relocation.
Parents are angry because they were promised the "north location" of the international school in Hilversum Meent would be given another location in Hilversum North. But the campus is now being moved to a new location in Hilversum South.
Disgruntled parents claim their living and work choices were influenced by the council's initial promise to relocate the school to Hilversum North.
Questioned about the matter on Friday, the chief of the council's Education Department, Han van Dam, said the municipality will defend its actions before the court. But he refused to comment further on the case.
The council had previously rejected concerns parents had raised about a mobile phone mast at the school, as well as criticism of the size of the playground, insufficient parking and dangerous traffic conditions.
The lawyer representing the group of parents, Maarten de Vries, said this week that the school board has claimed a handful of parents were trying to spark popular resistance to the relocation without valid reasoning.
He said this was despite the fact that the school's advisory board (Medezeggenschapsraad) — made up of parents and teachers — has advised against the relocation to the Rens & Rens building to the south of the city.
De Vries said the school wants to push through the relocation this year without any thought to objections. He said neither the council nor the education foundation have responded to the legal notice.
Besides the council's promise of a northern location for the school, parents claim the playground is smaller than legal requirements and is not suitable for small children. They also assert that there is not enough parking and have criticised emergency vehicle access to the school.
A GSM mobile phone mast is located next to the school building, raising concerns that children's health is being placed at risk. Parents are demanding the removal of the mast.
An estimated 140 pupils aged four to eight in groups of one to four will attend the new north location at the Rens & Rens building in the Frans Halslaan in the south of Hilversum.
The relocation was meant to occur mid-February, but discussions between the school and parents recently led to that date being postponed until 21 March.
The court hearing will now be held on 10 March.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news