The Knucklehead of the Day award
Goes to Kjell Gislefoss. He is the principal of Kristiansand Adult Education Center. Mr. Giselefoss is prohibiting one of his teachers, Inge Telhaug from wearing a Star of David necklace at classes. The principal doesn't want to offend any Muslim students. I thought the USA had a monopoly on knucklehead education bureaucrats.
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A municipally employed teacher in Kristiansand has been prevented from wearing a Star of David around his neck. Kristiansand Adult Education Center, where the man works, ruled that the Jewish symbol could be deemed a provocation towards the many Muslim students at the school, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports.
Teacher Inge Telhaug said he feels this is a violation of his freedom of speech.
"I can't accept this. It is a small star, 16 millimeters (0.6 inches) that I have around my neck, usually under a T-shirt. I see it as my right to wear it," Telhaug told NRK.
Telhaug teaches immigrants Norwegian language and culture at the education center. Telhaug is not Jewish.
"I see it as the oldest religious symbol we have in our culture, because without Judaism there would be no Christianity," Telhaug.
The principal of the school, Kjell Gislefoss, feels that the Star of David can also be interpreted as a political symbol for the state of Israel, and is afraid the star can provoke and offend students, for example immigrants from the Palestinian territories.
"The Star of David would be a symbol for one side in what is perhaps the world's most inflamed conflict at the moment. Many have a traumatic past that they have escaped and then we feel that if they are going to learn Norwegian then they can't sit an at the same time be reminded of the things they have traveled from," Gislefoss said.
Telhaug has hired a lawyer and refuses to give in.
The head of the Education Association in Kristiansand, Heidi Hauge Uldal, called the school's decision "unacceptable". Uldal said her group did not want to go the way of France and forbid all religious symbols in schools, a topic that is currently becoming relevant in Norway as well.