• July 30, 2015
  • 171

Parents continue their fight in court to keep High School under the name of Joachim Lelewel in Vilnius

Despite the objections, pleas and mass meetings organised by Poles and Russians living in Vilnius, the Vilnius city council continues its strict actions which greatly limit the opportunities to educate national minorities in their native language.

In the face of disregard of the above mentioned means, the school societies decided to fight for their rights [to be educated in their mother tongue] in court. The schools of national minorities already are sucessful in this field. Junior high school under the name of Adam Mickiewicz in Vilnius won against the city’s council: the Lithuanian court suspended the controversial resolution of the capital city’s council concerning not assembling children who were supposed to attend the fifth class for the next school year in this Polish school.

Just now, in Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, a motion was signed and tabled by 36 parents of the pupils from high school under the name of Joachim Lelewel in Vilnius. The defendants in this case are the Vilnius city council and the administration of the local government.

The parents appealed the resolution of the Vilnius city’s council of the day 15 July 2015, under which it was decided to transform high school under the name of Joachim Lelewel in Vilnius into school under the name of Joachim Lelewel in Vilnius as a result of liquidation the school in Minties Street 3. What is more, under this resoluion the school shall change its location – from the district of Antakalnis to the building located on Minties Street, on the other side of the Neris river, and the headmaster was obliged to give the historical building situated in Antakalnio Street 33 to the local government.

At the beginning of summer the parents plead to the Vilnius city council and Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania to not accept the appealed resolution but their request was not heard. Ministry of Education applied to the mayor to postpone the discussion concerning the future of the school, but the mayor ignored the Ministry’s request.

The parents believe that the resolution of the day 15 July is unfounded, against the law and a number of legal acts, is harmful for the interests and rights of the petitioners, was accepted in a hurry and without regard to the opinion of the school community, what makes this resolution unacceptable according to the parents.

„Transfer to the the building across the river will prevent the school authorities from providing the students with the proper conditions to learn”, one can read in the motion tabled in court.

The worried petitioners pointed out in their motion that execution of the earlier mentioned resolution will conclude in liquidation of the last school for national minorities in Antakalnis. For this reason, for most of the children, especially younger ones, the journey to school will be significantly further and more dangerous, considering the fact that the students will be forced to cross busy roads.

The parents apply to suspend the resolution to the moment of validation of the judicial decision in this proceeding which will repeal this resolution.

The effort and determination of national minorities has already made Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania to accept the corrections to the Educational Act which allowed the postponing for period of 2 years the need to have accreditation. Polish and Russian schools are also successful in courts. It is a good sign for high school under the name of Joachim Lelewel in Vilnius, which fights for survival and the possibility to continue its eduactional mission.

Translated by Klaudia Chmura within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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