Teacher Considering Taking Town To Court - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Teacher Considering Taking Town To Court

Published October 15, 2012

A school teacher who was fired earlier this year is considering going to court against the town of Akureyri, as he believes he was fired for expressing controversial opinions.
The teacher in question, Snorri Óskarsson, was sent on six months leave from Brekkuskóli in Akureyri after his blog was discovered. The blog’s writings, among other things, lashes out against homosexuals. Snorri contends that he is only quoting from the Bible, and exercising his right to freedom of expression. Shortly thereafter, he was officially relieved of his duties.
While the consensus had been that he had been fired for his anti-gay writings, Akureyri mayor Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson told reporters that it was out of the question that Snorri’s blog or religious beliefs contributed to his being fired. Rather, he was terminated because of job performance.
Sigurður Kristinsson, an associate professor at the University of Akureyri, said that while Snorri does indeed have freedom of expression, his blog is in violation of the teachers’ code of ethics. Part of these ethics include showing all students equal respect, regardless of their sexual orientation. By writing as he did on his blog, Snorri was publicly condemning homosexuals, some of whom may very well be his own students, thereby breaking the ethics code. Many parents had called for his dismissal.
Snorri chose to appeal the matter to the Teachers’ Union and now, Vísir reports, he says he would rather take the matter to court.
While the Teachers’ Union is in talks with the town of Akureyri over what kind of severance pay, if any, Snorri is owed, his case is currently at the Ministry of the Interior. There it is being reviewed to see whether or not his firing was justifiable. Snorri himself believes that the matter should go to court, as he believes it is “a case study on whether or not teachers can be fired for expressing their opinions.”
A final decision on the matter is still pending.


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