Tallinn school director quits post following teacher racial slurs

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Tallinn European School's new facilities on Tehnika Street in Tallinn.
Tallinn European School's new facilities on Tehnika Street in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The director of a private school in Tallinn has left his post following repeat incidents of racially offensive remarks by one of the school's students, directed at a teacher.

The teacher, Viateur Nkurunziza, had reportedly been the target of sustained verbal slurs by a 14-year-old male student at the Tallinn European School, since the school year started in September 2018, according to ERR's online news in Estonian, quoting daily Postimees.

Nkurunziza taught economics and French, at the private school, which provides both primary and secondary education and was previously based in the Ülemiste district of the capital. The school moved to a new location on Tehnika Street in time for the 2018-2019 academic year.

"Through the course of the year, 'Tom' [name changed] directed animal noises at me and disrupted economics classes, even as of today," Nkurunziza said in statement made to education ministry representatives, who visited the school in relation to the incidents.

Nkurunziza, who was the sole black teacher at the school through the last academic year, said he had repeatedly spoken about the incident with both the youth's parents, and the school's director, Riccardo Larini, but to no avail.

In mid-June, education ministry spokesperson Sten Otsmaa told Postimees that the school's management was working towards a solution to the issue and that the ministry was keeping an eye on things. Schools in Estonia are on their summer vacation until the beginning of September.

A few days before the end of the school year, in late June, Larini handed in his resignation as director, but has not commented publicly on the matter.

Founded in 2013, Tallinn European School is the largest international school in Estonia, with over 300 students, with studies taught in English and in French. The school prepares students for the European Baccalaureate leaving qualification, according to its website.


Please note an earlier version of this story had erroneously stated that the teacher, Viateur Nkurunziza, had also quit his post following the incidents. At press time he has made no such announcement. ERR News apologizes for any confusion caused.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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