Zurich Experiments With 'Black List' To Add Security To Teacher Hiring

A new system is being used in Zurich to avoid potentially dangerous teachers from being hired which aims to keep certain profiles permanently barred from the profession.

Keeping classrooms and hallways safe (Wootang01)
Keeping classrooms and hallways safe (Wootang01)


ZURICH - For the first time, Zurich's Department of Education has checked a "black list" to see if the names of any of its new teachers are on it. Though none were, the existence of this list that alerts schools to those considered unfit to teach -- including both convicted child abusers, ordinary criminals and consistently difficult employees -- has raised questions in Switzerland.

The first check in Zurich was carried out at the beginning of this school year on an experimental basis by the Bern-based national Swiss Conference of Cantonal Departments of Education. Routinely checked are teachers whose CVs show lapses in job continuity, said Zurich school board chief Martin Wendelspiess. "If there are ‘holes' in the CV, and the candidate says something like they spent two years learning yoga in India, we check to try and establish if that's true or if it's covering something up."

Wendelspiess added that education authorities were routinely informed by the national conference if criminal proceedings for child abuse were opened against a teacher. But alleged sexual abusers are not the only ones on the list – the name of any teacher convicted in court, or who repeatedly shirks duties and violates acceptable professional conduct, will be placed on the list which bans them from teaching.

Most of the banned teachers were involved in the sexual abuse of children, although one was banned for blackmail.

Blacklisted teachers have the possibility after a few years to apply for reinstatement, though that happens seldom in practice since most banned teachers go on to pursue careers in other areas.

There are presently 32 Zurich teachers on the national black list. Names are removed from the list when people reach retirement age or if they are reinstated.

Read the full story in German by Lucienne-Camille Vaudan

Photo - Wootang01

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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