State Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation, and the school will probably fire the teacher.
The “Matija Gubec” Primary School in Zagreb has a rather flamboyant teacher of Catholic religious studies. Instead of teaching pupils about Catholic catechesis, love and forgiveness, Krešimir Bagarić instead spends his time telling them which Croatian politicians should be killed, whose heads should be put on a spike, and at the same time praises Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladić, reports Index.hr on December 22, 2017.
Bagarić devoted most of his recent class to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and praised the war crimes committed by Ratko Mladić against Bosniaks. “It turns out that the general was right. He protected his people and Serbian interests. And we have been idiots. Even a teacher can sometimes be crazy,” said Bagarić.
After praising the man who ordered the killing of thousands of Bosniaks and who also caused deaths of many people in Croatia as well, Bagarić turned to explaining the political situation in Croatia. “We should hang two former presidents [Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović], and one former foreign minister [Vesna Pusić], and we should do it immediately. The man [Mesić] opened the presidential safe and gave the Hague Tribunal the transcripts. He is a dirty, stinking traitor.”
Bagarić had other proposals as well. “You have Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić who talks openly around the world. That is not possible anywhere. You should choose heart attack, stroke, a three-bullet suicide in the back… We are the only people to appoint prostitutes and traitors to important positions. We are a miserable nation, there are no worse people than Croats,” continued Bagarić. He later returned to Mesić and Pusić, saying they needed “a shot in the head and to be thrown in a septic tank.”
“We have neo-liberal idiots who feel that being gay is okay and that we all need to hold each other hands under the rainbow flag,” said the teacher turning to the issue of gay rights, adding later that half of his colleagues in the school were Yugoslavs.
The school principal said the teacher would be fired. “What follows is immediate termination of the employment contract. This is personal responsibility and has nothing to do with school. It is related to the unacceptable behaviour of an individual which we did not know existed until this happened,” said Ljiljana Klinger, adding that she did not have information about any previous similar incidents. “Religious classes teachers have a regular employment contract and have the same rights and obligations as all other employees. The difference in comparison with other employees is just in the admission process. They are selected not by principals, but by the Church which sends them to schools,” said the principal.
The Catholic Church also issued a statement. “The Catechism Office of the Zagreb Archdiocese has been informed about the case. The Office, as the body responsible for the implementation of the school catechism, distances itself from the statements and expresses its regret that Mr Bagarić has abused the religious studies class. The commission for the assignment of teachers will consider the case and decide on further proceedings,” announced the press office of the Zagreb Archdiocese.
Education Minister Blaženka Divjak said she was shocked. “I am shocked with the discovery of the recording which openly propagates hate speech. If this recording is authentic, there is absolutely no place for such a person in a school. The Ministry’s team is in contact with the school principal who is currently taking all necessary measures and will inform all competent authorities as soon as possible. We will notify the public about the results as soon as we receive all the necessary information,” said Divjak.
GLAS, Vesna Pusić’s political party, has demanded that Archbishop of Zagreb Josip Bozanić should publicly apologise for the teacher’s behaviour. “GLAS points out that religious classes in schools were never conceived as a way to carry out political propaganda or as an indoctrination of children with hatred towards others, as a means of spreading national and political intolerance, or as a forum for publicly encouraging violence and hate. Unfortunately, the education authorities have no role in choosing the teachers and in monitoring and valorising their work in schools because, according to the agreements between the Holy See and Croatia, they are appointed by local bishops. This is one of the reasons why it is necessary to review and possibly abolish the agreements with the Vatican,” said the party in a statement.
The State Attorney’s Office (DORH) in Zagreb has ordered the local police administration to conduct an investigative survey regarding the content of the teacher’s statement. DORH ordered this to determine whether there are elements of a criminal offence for which prosecution is carried out ex officio. “The public will be informed in a timely manner about the results of the investigative action”, said the Office in a statement.