Students of XXX Liceum Ogólnokształcące (English: Comprehensive School No. 30) in Krakow are fighting for the future of the dance and art classes. Their teachers have not been paid since May.
Recordings made by students from XXX LO in Krakow are gaining popularity on TikTok. The entertainment platform helped to publicise a scandal involving the headmistress of the school. Students attending the dance and art classes are firmly calling her "a thief" and can be heard chanting "the headmistress is destroying the school" in the videos circulating the internet.
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XXX LO in Krakow is the only public school in Poland where young people can choose dance and theatre as their field of study. Eight such classes had been opened at the school, two at each level of education.
Since September this year, however, the number of art classes has been reduced by half. Teachers have not been paid their salaries and some have been working without a contract since October. An educator quoted by Gazeta Wyborcza says that he has not received either back pay for his work or compensation for doing extra work. He bitterly adds that the headmistress of the Krakow secondary school, Ewa Dziekan-Feliksiak, avoids confrontation.
The headmistress' suspicious spending. What will be the future of the school?
The comprehensive school in Kraków received substantial subsidies from the municipality precisely for the organisation of art classes. In 2022, the school received a total of PLN 225,000 (€50,500) and in the first half of 2023 as much as PLN 180,000 (€40,400), which was to cover the salaries of 12 teachers. In September, the funding was withheld due to Ewa Dziekan-Feliksiak making suspicious purchases with school money.
Radio Zet discovered invoices for which the headmistress of XXX LO was supposed to have paid for bicycles, carpets, bedding and garden equipment. On top of this, she allocated several hundred thousand zloty for renovations and catering for pupils. Teachers were said to deny the need for the renovation, however, and pupils reportedly never ate or saw the food.
At the moment, Ewa Dziekan-Feliksiak's expenses are being looked into by the City Hall. The public prosecutor's office is not yet involved in the case, but its involvement is not excluded.
The municipal office commented on the uncertain future of art lessons at XXX LO in a statement for Gazeta Wyborcza.
Students organised a "black protest". The headmistress explains herself
Ewa Dziekan-Feliksiak pledged to pay outstanding salaries and to reinstate art classes in school.
However, this did not stop the students from organising a protest sending her a letter spelling out allegations of violations of students' rights and listing numerous frauds.
The students of XXX LO in Krakow dressed in black and protested against the morally questionable practices of the headmistress. In doing so, they maintained full culture, as can be judged from the videos available on the internet. The young people fought in their own interest, but also demanded decent wages for their artistic mentors.
It is also worth mentioning that many students had come to Krakow to study at XXX LO because of the dance and acting classes offered by the school. Some live several hundred kilometres away from their families and moved out at the age of just 14.
Source: Gazeta Wyborcza