8 August 2020, Saturday, 20:04
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Minsk Teacher Quits In Protest

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Minsk Teacher Quits In Protest
ALENA SMIRNOVA

The Headmaster threatened those dissatisfied with the current government with sanctions.

Alena Smirnova is a teacher of English. She worked in the grammar school # 4 with the Belarusian language of teaching during the recent year. According to her, the headmaster gathered the teachers recently to discuss the upcoming election. He allegedly had the lists of those employees who planned to vote for alternative candidates. “Let those who are not satisfied with the current government go to work at the market,” Alena Smirnova quotes her former boss. After this statement, she filed an application to quit the job in the grammar school, tut.by writes.

Alena Smirnova is an educator with a profound teaching experience. She is a retiree, but a year ago, in late August, a Vice Principal of the grammar school #4 asked to come there to work, the teacher tells. Before this, the teacher worked in the secondary school #49 and the grammar school #3 in Minsk.

Several days ago, according to the teacher, headmaster Andrei Hozman summoned the teachers who came to work after vacation, about 30 people altogether, for a meeting. At this meeting, they first discussed the repair issues, but then the Headmaster raised the topic of elections and electoral commissions.

- I have not recorded this conversation on a dictaphone, but I remember it clearly. The headmaster said he allegedly had on his desk the list of those employees who were going to vote for the alternative candidates. And after August 9, he said, there will be instructions from the above on how to work with such people. He also reminded that it was not an easy time for businessmen and entrepreneurs during the pandemic, while the teachers were taken care of - they received salaries. “So, let those who are dissatisfied with the current power go to work at the market.” I was outraged, I stood up saying “I’d better be going, need to find a job at the market,” and walked out, and I heard just “make sure you duly notify the personnel department” thrown in my back.

Alena Smirnova doesn’t know for sure what these lists are and whether they truly exist. She suggests there might be people in them who refused to sign for the nomination of Lukashenka as a presidential candidate of Belarus, when one of their colleagues was collecting those signatures:

- By and large, this was just intimidating and psychological blackmail, - the teacher believes. - I am more than convinced there will be no ordinances. Someone needs to teach kids anyway.

On the same day, Alena says, she had a conversation with the Headmaster. The Vice Principal was there, too.

- I made a mistake saying that I would record our conversation on dictaphone. The Headmaster started stating he had never said anything like this, and there were no lists. I quit voluntarily, July 29 was my last working day. I am no victim. I quit myself.

Headmaster of the Minsk grammar school # 4 Andrei Hozman did not comment on the situation in a telephone conversation, referring to the fact that he did not see the interlocutor, but agreed to speak in person. When the journalists arrived at the educational institution half an hour later, Andrei Hozman was not there - he, according to the staff, went to a meeting with the administration.