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Danish teacher given an official warning after voicing his opinion
Erik Strand, 02.02.16

The case of Erik Schmidt, a teacher formerly employed at Agerup school in Odense (Denmark's third largest city) is an ugly example of lack of freedom of speech. Thomas Aastrup Rømer has written about this case (in Danish) and provided several links to journalistic mention of the case here.

On 04. June 2014, Erik Schmidt was given a warning as a civil servant by the muncipality of Odense. The reason for this warning was that Schmidt insisted on discussing decisions made by the school's principal, Mohammed Bibi, during two teacher meetings. Bibi's decisions were about changing the school's pedagogical principles and keeping the principles behind the process of finding how much time the teachers needed for preparations, secret.

For discussing these issues at a teacher's meeting, Schmidt was given a warning for 'negative attitude'. Rømer's article identifies those responsible for this warning in his article.

Mohammed Bibi was the one who proposed that Schmidt was given a warning. The warning was given by Ina Ahrensberg, leader of the Children and Youth Department in Odense municipality. Odense's Chief Municipal Manager, Susanne Crawley Larsen, has supported her bureaucracy in this case.

From the documents in this case (quoted in Simon Malkenes's book "Bak fasaden i Osloskolen") one can read the following warning to Schmidt: "If these conditions are not changed, or if similiar conditions occur in the future, that can have consequences for your employment". On 23. May, Erik Schmidt chose to quit his job due to the situation where he could not be sure of what he was allowed to say and what he was not allowed to say. Schmidt had been employed at the school for decades, while Bibi had been employed for about one month.