Wednesday, March 14, 2012

High school students protesting school cafeteria food accused of being terrorists by school principal

According to the daily Birgun, the students of Ismail Erez Industrial High School in Bayrampasa wanted to protest the high prices and bad-quality food served at the privatized school cafeteria by bringing their own food to school. However when the students brought food from home to school 12 plain-clothes police officers raided the school and threatened the students while the school principal Mustafa Saglam got in touch with the students' families and gave them the files he prepared containing information about the students' private life.

Last Monday (March 5th) the students distributed leaflets about their decision to bring food to school starting on Wednesday. All students fed up with the cafeteria food decided to support this initiative. Following this, the principal asked that the students distributing leaflets come to his room and he threatened these 17 students and shouted at them. According to Abdulmelik Y., one of the students, the principal said: "Are you terrorists or what? Why are you distributing leaflets?". When the students tried to express their concerns the principal started to curse.

After being asked to provide unofficial defenses the students got in touch with Egitim-Sen (Education and Science Worker's Union) and asked for their help. Officers from Egitim-Sen came to school to talk with the principal but this led to an even stronger oppression on the principal's side. An official investigation was started and this time the students were asked to provide official defense statements. Despite all the oppressive measures the students brought their own food to school on Wednesday, March 7th, and the moment they started to have their food on their desks in the classroom they were stopped by 12 plain-clothes police officers. The police officers told the students that it was forbidden to have food in the classroom and they asked that the students leave the classroom.

To read the rest of the news report in Turkish please visit Birgun. To read about the same event in the daily Radikal in Turkish, please click here.