Roma Students in Special Needs Schools

Amnesty: Czech Republic continuously places Roma pupils in special needs schools

[JURIST] Romani children are continuing to be placed in special needs schools by Czech authorities, despite a European Court of Human Rights [official website] decision [text], Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported[text] Thursday. The case was decided over seven years ago, and involved a group of primary-school Roma children who were placed in schools for children with mild mental-disabilities in the Czech Republic. The court ruled that placing these healthy children in such schools was discrimination. Romani children are over-represented in such chools, even with parental consent safeguards imposed by the government. According to AI Romani children who attend mainstream schools are not treated much better. Many are segregated into “Roma only” schools or classrooms with lower educational standards and are bullied and disenfranchised by peers, teachers and administrators. AI contends discrimination through segregated education is unlawful and leads to limited education and future employment opportunities, trapping Romani children in a cycle of exclusion and marginalization. The European Commission [official website] announced it would initiate proceedings against the Czech Republic for breaching EU anti-discrimination legislation. The Czech Republic is reforming education with the Czech School Act, which aims to include children with special needs into mainstream education, although critics argue state action has been sluggish.

International rights groups have consistently campaigned for improved human rights for the Roma [JURIST report] people living in Europe, now at a population of 10-12 million. Notably, in April 2013 AI issued a press release similar to Tuesday’s report urging the EU to end discrimination against Roma communities throughout Europe. That same month a UN rights expert called for EU member states to do more to ensure basic human rights for the Roma people in Europe, recalling that the UN Human Rights Council [official website] “made nearly 250 recommendations to almost 30 countries concerning the situation of Roma communities.” In January 2013 the European Court of Human Rights condemned [JURIST report] Hungary for segregating Roma students and wrongly placing them in remedial schools.


Rom Word for ‘Possess’ (excerpt from “The Gypsy’s Song”)

“We Rom did not even have a word in our language for ‘possess’, while for the
, it is probably the most significant and the most defining word in their
language. Surely, it is only by possessions that the worth of an individual
gadjo c
an ever be determined.

rolls royce

The gadje believe everything must be owned by someone; contrarily, the
Rom believe nothing is or can ever be owned, and in nature, everything
exists for the pleasure and delight of all humankind.”

The Gypsy’s Song                    

The Gypsys Song small



Rom Tarot Fortunetelling

“As for our future, we left it to its rightful owners: the wind or to fate.
So unlike the frightened gadje who lined up for predictions from the
gypsy fortune-tellers to reassure them about their lives….

tarot-cards wheel of fortune

The Rom do not tell fortunes for one another
because we are not
obsessed with our
futures, and will allow neither the past
nor the future to
yoke itself to us. We
know how to live absolutely immersed
in the present,
remaining susceptible to
any gales the winds might usher
in, because we
know a gale will always
ultimately be embellished with rainbows.”
                          The Gypsy’s Song
Destiny’s Consent: Book I


                  Tarot Cards


The Rom (excerpt from “The Gypsy’s Song”)

O Vurdon

“If you ask the gadje about the Gypsies, they call us thieves, but all
Gypsies know it is the gadje who are the worst thieves. We Rom know if
the gadje had their way, they would own everything, and if they could, they
would even claim to possess the sun and then charge everyone else for

sunbeams big

Whenever the Rom encountered some especially astonishing gadje
claim of ownership, we could only shrug and remark to remind
ourselves of the earth’s true intent.


We would say to one another, “after all, some shade
is good for everyone”.

                                                   The Gypsy’s Song
                                                  The Gypsys Song small



Rom Kumpania Life

“Until I was ten, I lived in an Old World across an immense sea. Now, of
course, I know it to be the continent of Europe, and the year to be 1915. But
as with everything, then was then, and now is now.

Most of the time, when I contemplate the life I led sheltered within the
Rom tribe, my memories swell out like balloons – free, colourful, and happy.
Our family was one of a small Gypsy caravan made up of about fifteen
or wagons.

Vardo and horses

My memories juxtapose themselves much like the way
the women of Rom wear their long skirts. Gypsy women are never content
to wear just one skirt; they wear layers and layers of fabric, arranged in
differing lengths, to display luxuriant palettes of prints and textures.

Rom dancer color

My  childhood among the Rom is layered as that, richly. But
because I myself now have become more like a gadjo, my feelings about my
past have become twisted around like a snake engorging itself on its own
tail. So perhaps it wasn’t like that at all.”

       Destiny’s Consent:
   Book I: The Gypsy’s Song

      The Gypsys Song small



The Rom and History

Vardo and horses

“So it was, that at my birth in the early part of the 20th century, the Rom
had succeeded in neatly sidestepping history. As we traveled slowly from
village to village in our luminous wagons drawn by our splendid horses, it
worried none of us that we lingered yet in the human evolutionary phase of
‘hunter and gatherer’. It was obvious to us the gadje had moved on to
another way of life, the ‘Industrial Age’, they called it, but we coveted
nothing from that lifestyle. We Rom were an uncomplicated people and had
happily escaped many of the epidemics that plagued the gadje world,
including one of its most common – neurosis. Perhaps it was because we
believed instead to live in truthfulness to one’s nature, rather than live in
service to the gods of materialism. The Rom paid those gods no homage, at
least not with our hearts.

And we needed no history books to explain our past; our memories were
strong and sufficient to extend back four or five generations, long enough
for a full and proud ancestry. Since we had no libraries containing books of
mythical or legendary heroes from the past to compare ourselves to, we did
not belittle our accomplishments, nor goad ourselves on to inflated heights
of glory, which did not serve our life force. Each of our lives was to be
lived as best we could, extending few side glances over at our neighbor.”

                     Destiny’s Consent: Book I
                           The Gypsy’s Song

The Gypsys Song small