Concern over incident at international school
27 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — The authorities at the International Secondary School in Eindhoven (ISSE) have vowed a renewed focus on security after some pupils were assaulted by local teenagers.
27 April 2006
AMSTERDAM — The authorities at the International Secondary School in Eindhoven (ISSE) have vowed a renewed focus on security after some pupils were assaulted by local teenagers.
"It is particularly a matter for concern that local children entered the school grounds during this very unfortunate incident," headmaster David Garner said. He stressed that a a CCTV camera recorded the confrontation and the police say the images are of good enough quality to catch the culprits.
The ISSE, on the Venetiestraat, is part of the Stedelijk (City) College Eindhoven and has pupils from dozens of countries, aged between 11 and 19. The parents of some of the children work at the airbase in Eindhoven. The school's curriculum is the seven-year Geneva-based International Baccalaureate.
The incident took place on 21 April when four ISSE pupils, all girls aged 12 to 14, went to a nearby chip shop between 4.50 and 5pm. Some local girls came in and one commented on the fact the ISSE pupils were speaking English. This sparked pushing and shoving on the part of the local teenagers.
The ISSE pupils went back to the school grounds but were followed by the original protagonists and other young people from the neighbourhood. Some of the pupils, including two other girls who happened to be passing, were pushed to the ground and kicked.
Michael Santangelo, the father of the pupil confronted for speaking English, said it took two phone calls before the police arrived. His daughter was grabbed by the throat during the incident in an attempt to take her bike.
Santangelo said pupils are have already revealed previous incidents of harassment. He said parents had been asking for extra security at the school for at least a year.
Expressing concern tension had been building up for the last few years, Santagelo said steps have to be taken to guarantee unauthorised people cannot enter the school grounds and that the pupils are free of harassment in Eindhoven.
Garner acknowledged there has been an atmosphere of heightened sensitivity in the Netherlands in general in recent years. But noting that the spark seems to have been the pupils use of English, Garner said, "the curious thing is that the majority of the local children were clearly not of Dutch origin themselves."
He said he hoped the trouble last Friday was an isolated incident and an unfortunate manifestation of "teenage territorialism".
"There has been a running discussion with the local authority about the location of a bus stop. It used to be at the front of the school, in view of the office, but not it is at the rear and is more isolated."
The ISSE, he said, is on the edge of a nice neighbourhood, with apartments and social housing some distance further to the south which has been a traditional source of problems.
He said international students, anywhere in the world, often have to resign themselves to having comments directed at them by local children. But the school wanted to guarantee everyone feels secure, safe and welcome. Therefore the pupils have been asked come forward with any accounts of incorrect treatment.
Garner said Friday's incident had led to a renewed focus on what can be done to improve security, in particular to control who enters the school. He said some progress had been made but the emphasis in Dutch schools tends to differ from the needs of an international one.
"In light of attacks on teachers and pupils in recent years the focus in Dutch schools is mainly on the internal atmosphere. As an international school our security concerns are of a different nature".
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news