You need one on your black snout!

David SvarcPragueAugust 2000
It is March 21, 2000 and the Pocaply ESN school has organized a trip to the zoo in Prague. There are several classes on the trip, including the class of a fourteen-year-old Romany boy Jirka Paluska. The bus leaves for Prague and everybody is looking forward to beautiful experiences. Jirka, comfortably seated in the bus, cannot wait to see Prague and is looking forward to visiting the zoo even more. It will be his first time there. Finally they arrive and joyfully get out of the bus. First they get some short instructions, and then set off together to admire both the domestic and the exotic animals. They go first to the popular monkey pavilion. Monkeys are monkeying around in front of their admirers. The happy children go on to other pavilions to see snakes, turtles, bears.
Following a joint tour, at last the time arrives which all the children like and to which many have been looking forward most of all: free time. The teachers tell them when and where to meet, and everybody goes where he likes. Jirka and his friends go back to the places they liked most, and peacefully watch turtles and fish.
Having eaten at the fast food shop, they head off cheerfully to the meeting point. But suddenly behind their backs they can hear voices of older boys they don’t know. "See that black Gypsy? Somebody should give him a bloody nose!” The younger boys don’t wait and run away, afraid they will be attacked. But Jirka gets caught. A gang of teenagers knocks him down and starts kicking him. Every time Jirka tries to get up, they force him down again, yelling: “You black mug! You swine! You need one on your black snout!”
Jirka says nothing: he is crawling on the ground, and his eyes are full of tears.
When they let him go, he runs to the meeting point. He is bruised and covered with blood.
The bus is already there, and some pupils are waiting. Jirka is exhausted. When he sits down ,he falls asleep. The teachers come to check the children, but none of them notices anything wrong with Jirka.
One of his friends tells a teacher that Jirka was assaulted by a gang. The teacher says she hopes Jirka is not in pain, but shows no further interest in him. The bus leaves for Pocaply
Jirka gets home. “Hi, mum,” he calls from the door. “Hi, Jirka,” his mother answers, coming into the hall. “Jirka! What’s happened to you? What a sight you are! Who did this to you?”
Jirka describes the assault.
Shocked, his mother cleans his cuts and asks, “What did the teachers do?”
“Nothing,” says Jirka.
His mother looks at him sadly: she is thinking about a similar recent attack on his brother. The next day, bursting with indignation Jirka’s mother goes to the head teacher. At first she breaks down and cries, but then demands an explanation for the teachers’ negligence.
They talk for a long time, and the head teacher apologizes and says that he will reprimand the teachers who were n the trip. But he asks Jirka’s mother to keep the sad accident a secret between her and the school. We do not know if the teachers have really been punished. We know, though, that the head teacher resigned shortly afterwards. After what happened at the zoo, other Romany parents said they would not let their children go farther than to Beroun. This poses a problem for the school, because most of the students are Romany.

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