In 2020, a less than pleasant incident occurred at the Drize secondary school in the pretty Geneva suburb of Carouge: a teacher yelled “Heil Hitler” in class while giving the Nazi salute.
According to the family of one student, the teacher is said to have said to her protégés: «What about the end of the war? The Jews got back lands all over the world that didn’t belong to them, while the Nazis got nothing.”
The incident was included in the 2020 annual report of the French-speaking Switzerland coordination office against anti-Semitism and defamation (Cicad), where the teacher was also able to comment on the allegation. She explained her outburst by saying that she wanted to keep the classroom quiet. Several French-speaking Swiss media then reported on the incident.
Now she’s back
The Geneva Director of Education Anne Emery-Torracinta (63, SP) is said to have opened proceedings against the teacher, Cicad wrote in its report. As Blick research shows, the woman was actually suspended. But now she’s back.
How can that be? Pierre-Antoine Preti, spokesman for the Geneva Department of Education, is reticent: There is no communication about personal dossiers. Personal data would be subject to special protection and a limited right to disclosure to third parties.
Cicad Secretary General Johanne Gurfinkiel, on the other hand, is “shocked”: He was informed about the reinstatement. “I’m dismayed that a teacher who has been disciplined can return to work, in the same faculty, with probably the same students,” he says. “As if nothing had happened!”
The behavior of the teacher is scandalous, he adds. The punishment must be proportionate to this.
Canton government is questioned
The news also hit political circles. Education politician Ana Roch is amazed. It is amazing that the teacher is getting her post back. The woman did not even apologize for her behavior. In addition, it was unfortunate to put her back in the same school.
The former president of the Mouvement Citoyens Genevois (MCG) wants to submit a question in the next parliamentary session: “It would be interesting to know whether there were sanctions.” The Social Democrat Romain de Sainte Marie also raises his eyebrows: “If this scandalous act was confirmed by an investigation and no measures were taken, that surprises me. Such a serious act as this cannot go unnoticed.”
FDP colleague Alexandre de Senarclens goes even further: “If the facts could be checked, then this teacher has no place in public service!” The education department should not be merciful when it comes to anti-Semitism, “and I call on them to issue clear sanctions”. The teacher’s behavior is also “absolutely unacceptable” for SVP parliamentarian Thomas Bläsi.