Solidarity Network from Most (MSS) would like to ask you to send this protest e-mail to the Social Affairs Department of Most City Hall. Its employee from the Department of Social and Legal Protection of Children abused her position and violated the rights and dignity of a seven-year-old Jakub G. You can show your support easily by filling this simple e-form with a model protest letter that will be sent to the department. This is the second conflict of the MSS preceded by a victory in the case against Zepter International Ltd. from last year (see the article Solidarity Network from Most, Czech (MSS) got unpaid commissions from Zepter.
What is the conflict about?
In April 2014, two sons of Žaneta G. had a minor argument on their way to school. Romana Vojtová, an employee of Most City Hall working at the Department of Social and Legal Protection of Children, noticed the incident. According to her statement, the seven-year-old Jakub was threatening his eleven-year-old brother’s life. She intervened, asked the older brother for their mother’s phone number and sent him to school. She then took the younger of two boys to her office, where she threatened to send him to institutional care if he repeats his behavior.
It took several days for Jakub’s mother to calm him down. He would often cry, afraid that he would be separated from his mom and placed in a youth detention center. He considered Ms Vojtová’s threats as real, unable to perceive that they cannot be enforced.
There is no indication that the children were in any danger due to their behaviour, and even if they were, what Romana Vojtová did was not right. To take a child away on his way to school and repeatedly threaten him that he would be taken from his parents and sent into a youth detention center means exposing him to trauma which may affect his future development. It is unacceptable to harm anyone like this and justify it by claiming that it was done in his best interests and to ensure his safety.
Žaneta wrote a complaint about the behavior of Ms Vojtová to the Head of Department who responded that Vojtová’s action had not been problematic. Žaneta decided not to give up and contacted the MSS.
What has been done until now:
Together with Žaneta, MSS first defined the main goals:
a) Confession by Romana Vojtová that she made a mistake and her sincere expression of regret. This step is a necessary part of prevention, i.e. reducing the risk that the same problem will repeat if Romana Vojtová deals with Žaneta’s sons or other children in the future.
b) Re-training and instruction on correct practice in the field of social and legal protection of children, with particular stress put on an empathic and sensitive approach when solving problems related to children and their parents. We also require evidence that such training will occur or has occurred.
c) Personal apology to the mother and children. If Romana Vojtová (who caused this traumatic situation) apologizes to Jakub and admits her mistake, it can significantly reduce the risk of negative consequences in Jakub’s mental development. The apology is needed in particular to reduce Jakub’s fear of the threat of being removed from parents and placed in a youth detention center. There is no evidence that such a threat was justified and feasible under the current circumstances.
On 4th June 2014 MSS together with Žaneta handed over a letter to Romana Vojtová as well as the Head of Department Naděžda Krupczová, describing the problem and the proposed solution. A deadline of seven days was given to solve the situation, which was not met.
Show your support – Send an e-mail!
Solidarity Network from Most, Czech (MSS) decided to launch a campaign to achieve the above mentioned goals. The first step is sending protest e-mails. Further steps will follow until the situation is resolved.
It is very easy to send an email – you can find a model letter with all the necessary e-mail addresses here (you can change the text if you like). The protest letter will be sent to the Head of the relevant department Nadežda Krupczová, youth social curator Romana Vojtová, the secretary of the City Hall Jaroslava Boudová and to the Department of Social Affairs.
The campaign counts on the involvement of groups and individuals in Czech Republic and abroad. If many people send a protest email, it will be an important sign for the employees of the City Hall that a lot of people support Žaneta’s struggle.
The protest e-mail addressed to specific employees of the Department of Social Affairs of the City Hall in Most
Hereby I join the international protest against the actions of Ms Romana Vojtová, an employee of the City Hall in Most. She inappropriately intervened in the rights of a minor Jakub G. and threatened his mental development by exposing him to a stressful and traumatizing situation.
Ms Romana Vojtová is an officer in the Department of Social and Legal Protection of Children and should know how to deal with children with empathy and sensitivity. She took Jakub to her office and threatened him that he will be taken from his mother and put into a youth detention center. What she did was extremely insensitive and inconsiderate and I deem it indefensible.
Until the situation is rectified, I will inform people about this case not only in the country where I live, but also elsewhere in the world. I will also support all forms of protest against such practices in your department.
Hereby I express solidarity with Mrs. Žaneta G. and her sons and emphasize the willingness to stand up for their rights.
Name, city, country (or organization) and date
Solidarity Network from Most, Czech (MSS)
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