|SC||Variations of sex characteristics|
|GR1||Legal gender recognition without self-determination|
|GR2||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (over 16)|
|GR3||Legal gender recognition with self-determination (under 16)|
|FPN||LGBTI focal points network|
|CA||Ministerial call to action|
The Education lawin the Czech Republic does not specifically mention diversity or LGBTQI people and does not explicitly deal with the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or variations in sex characteristics. The general anti-discrimination provisions, however, are applicable in the field of education law, and these cover all aspects of anti-discrimination related to diversity and/or sexual orientation, as described below.
The Education Act(2004) contains general anti-discrimination provisions which stipulate the principle of fair and equal access to education for every citizen in the Czech Republic. Even though sexual orientation is not expressly mentioned in the Education Act, discrimination for “any other status of the citizen” shall also include sexual orientation. Section 2(1)(a) of the Education Act states: “Education shall be based on the principles of equal access of all citizens of the Czech Republic or nationals of any other European Union Member State to education without any discrimination based on any grounds, such as race, color, sex, language, belief or religion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, property, kith or kin, or health condition, or any other status of a citizen.”
The Anti-Discrimination Act(2008), for its part, defines the right to equal treatment and the prohibition of any discrimination with respect to access to and the provision of education, employment, remuneration, services, etc. The Act stipulates that less favourable treatment based on sexual orientation or gender is considered to be direct discrimination and is forbidden. Section 2(3) of the Anti-discrimination Act states: “Direct discrimination shall mean any act, including an omission to act, where a person is treated less favorably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation, on grounds of race, ethnic origin, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief or worldview.”
In March 2016, several documents of national importance focusing on the fight against bullying and recommended procedures for addressing bullying at schools were published in the Czech Republic. This well-organised and comprehensive guideline was drawn up by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Physical Education.
The most important of these documents is the updated Guideline on the Prevention of Bullying (2016) designed to prevent and address bullying at schools and educational institutions, adopted by the Ministry of Education. This guideline provides information for teachers and educational staff about bullying and the best ways to prevent it. This document explicitly refers to sexual orientation as being one of the possible reasons for bullying.
Furthermore, the Bullying Prevention Guideline states that schools are primarily responsible for the health and safety of children (i.e. that schools are obliged by law to create and maintain a safe environment, procure the protection of students and their health, and prevent the occurrence of any form of risk behaviour, including bullying at schools). The headteacher is further obliged to ensure the safety and protection of their employees and to prevent bullying towards teachers. This follows from Section 29 of the Education Act, which states: “In providing education and directly related activities and in providing school services, schools and school facilities shall be obliged to take into account the fundamental physiological needs of children, pupils and students, and to create conditions for their healthy development and for preventing the rise of pathological social phenomenon.”
The document further defines corrective measures available to schools to bring violence meted out by aggressors to an end (these measures available range from a warning or disciplinary action to expulsion from school, an individual educational plan for the aggressor, etc.). It further follows that, according to the Ministry of Education, the most effective way of protecting children against bullying is for the school to create its own internal anti-bullying programme. The guideline stipulates that if a bullying case is not addressed by the teaching staff or the school’s headteacher immediately and in a satisfactory manner, it is possible to approach the founder of the school or its Board of Trustees, or file a complaint with the Czech School Inspectorate.
Another document adopted by the Ministry of Education is the Comments on Legal Measures against Bullying at Schools (2016). This document summarises the individual corrective measures available to schools in order to end violence. The document addresses various precautionary and disciplinary measures, as well as sanctions (for instance, the process of expulsion of a student from school).
The package of documents prepared by the Ministry of Education also includes an overview of institutions providing methodological guidance and advice related to bullying. It is intended for teaching staff of schools and educational institutions, and ought to contribute to both a swift resolution to and the prevention of bullying.
The subjects “People and the World” and “Arts and Culture” provide information on sexual orientation and gender identity and are mandatory components of the curriculum for all learners at elementary and secondary levels.
There is currently no mandatory teacher training on LGBTQI awareness. Civil society organisations report, however, that individual University Schools of Education have programmes on this topic.
According to the Civil Code, Art. 89/2012, “the change in the sex of a person occurs by surgical intervention while simultaneously preventing the reproductive function and the transformation of the genital organs”. There are no clear age restrictions.
The information available shows that there is no a comprehensive database kept in the Czech Republic in which all cases of bullying would be registered. The Police of the Czech Republic only collect such data in cases where bullying incidents are qualified as crimes under the Criminal Code. Under the law, schools are not obliged to collect data on the occurrence of bullying among their students (unlike, for instance, their statutory duty to collect data on accidents resulting in the injury of a student, whereby they are obliged to draw up a report on any accident and send it to the competent authorities and institutions).
Nonetheless, according to the Bullying Prevention Guideline (2016), schools are obliged to collect data on bullying incidents and review precautionary procedures, safety and crisis management plans, and set up measures to prevent the recurrence of risk behaviour. Article 4(12) of the Bullying Prevention Guideline stipulates: “The school shall collect data on manifestations of bullying and review its preventive procedures, security and crisis management plans, and set up such measures so as to prevent the recurrence of riskbehaviour.” As already mentioned above, the guideline is not legally binding on schools, and as a result, the Ministry of Education thus cannot enforce compliance.
Statistical data that helps give an overview of bullying cases in the Czech Republic comes from the Czech School Inspectorate and specific NGOs. In 2015, the NGO PROUD (Platform for Equality, Recognition and Diversity) carried out a survey on homophobia and transphobia on the national level. The survey was conducted by an NGO, PROUD, with the support of ILGA-Europe, and in co-operation with the Department of Psychology of the Faculty of Pedagogy of Charles University in Prague and the Center of Cultural, Media and Communication Studies of the Faculty of Arts of Palacký University in Olomouc. The survey was a follow-up on a survey of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, carried out in 2008. The survey of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, conducted by PhDr. Olga Pechová, Ph.D., from the Faculty of Psychology of the Faculty of Arts of Palacký University in Olomouc, strove to obtain information on the frequency of experience with discrimination and harassment on the part of Czech gays, lesbians and bisexuals in 2004 through 2008.
The first part of this extensive research comprised of an online quantitative questionnaire targeting senior primary schools and secondary schools. Over 1,300 respondents took part in this survey. The survey mapped, in particular, the attitude of learners toward their peers with (supposedly) “minority” or non-conformist sexual and/or gender identity, as well as their experience of homophobia and transphobia in the school environment. The second part of the survey consisted of interviews with primary and secondary school teachers concerning LGBTQI students, their social status in the group, coming out, the inclusion of information on various sexual and gender related differences in the teaching process, the prevention of homophobic bullying, etc. The outcome of the survey serves as the basis for proposals as to how best to make the school climate.
The outcome of the survey also showed that overall respondents had largely positive or tolerant attitudes towards gay, lesbian and bisexual people. Having said that, some of the respondents stated that they did not feel comfortable in the company of gay and lesbian people and that they did not treat them in the same way as heterosexuals (about 10% of the respondents on average). The greatest concerns and antipathies were, however, associated with transgender people – a full quarter of the respondents would not feel comfortable in their company, and one-fifth of the respondents believe that they are not the same as other people. Heterosexual boys were the least tolerant in terms of views on LGBTQI people (nearly one-half of heterosexual boys would not feel comfortable in the presence of a gay person, and as many as quarter would end a friendship should their friend turn out to be transgender. About 59% of the respondents considered the company of a transgender person unpleasant.
There are several national policies foreseeing access to support services for students affected by violence, specifically for bullying cases. The Bullying Prevention Guideline(2016) described above stipulates that the school management ought to designate at least one educator to deal with specific issues in the prevention and elimination of bullying. It is further noted that schools should continuously implement specific primary prevention of risk behaviour (including bullying) through the school anti-bullying programme and describe specific precautionary mechanisms used by the school in order to minimise bullying (safety plans), and to resolve situations of bullying cases (crisis management plan).
The guideline further notes that schools ought to map out the help network for both students and teachers in its region, and establish co-operation with, for instance, pedagogical-psychological counselling centres, centres of special pedagogy, educational care centres, NGOs, authorities for social and legal protection of children, crisis centres, healthcare facilities, the Police of the Czech Republic and other specialists. In a situation where bullying occurs at a school, and the school finds itself unable to deal with it, it ought to request assistance from other outside entities, such as a pedagogical-psychological counselling centre, educational care centre or NGO.
Several books and guidelines have been published on the topic of sexual orientation:
The government works in partnership with civil society organisations. NGO PROUD co-organised with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Rights a conference on homophobia at schools in 2014. Civil society organisations report, however, a lack of adequate funding in relation to education.
– Czech Republic has signed the Call for Action by Ministers – Inclusive and equitable education for all learners in an environment free from discrimination and violence.
– Czech Republic is member of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network.
Rainbow Education [www.duhoveseminare.cz]
PROUD offered over 100 school seminars (attended by more than 3000 pupils) during 2013 – 2016 in regard to the topic of LGBT people.
Covers: SO and GIE
Rainbow Training [www.duhoveseminare.cz]
PROUD offered teacher trainings to prevent discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.