• Richard Jones-Nerzic Campaign

    by  • January 17, 2007 • Uncategorized • 2 Comments

    It seems that the management of International School of Tolouse has lost its way.  According to several observers, recent rumblings within its walls have seen several good teachers leave, sometimes quietly, sometimes under a cloud.  A common aspect of many of these "leavings" is that the teachers have also been union members.

    Now it seems that, and this sounds crazy, the Board of Directors of the school, after of Les Albiston the principle, the school has sacked Richard Jones Nerzic, a fantastic, intelligent, popular and high performing teacher.  According to this website, the reason given is that Richard photocopied a letter addressed to a sacked colleague (with that colleague’s permission).  Sounds like an excuse to me. 

    Hopefully the principle (or perhaps his employers) will see sense and put Richard back where he belongs – in the classroom in Tolouse International School.

    If you want to add a message of support for Richard, please visit: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=9029.


    2 Responses to Richard Jones-Nerzic Campaign

    1. Ed
      January 19, 2007 at 9:37 am

      A comment from John Simpkin:

      I first met Richard Jones-Nerzic in 2001 when I was invited to run an in-service session with the staff of IST. While I was in the school I had the opportunity to observe Richard teaching. I can honestly say that Richard is the best history teacher I have ever seen. I was so impressed that I arranged for him to become a member of the European Virtual School, an initiative of the Swedish Department of Education. In 2003 I joined with a group of European educationalists in developing a Comenius Project entitled the “European History E-Learning Project (E-HELP)”. It was decided that Richard was the best person to lead the project. As Comenius Project contracts are given to institutions rather than individuals, this meant that the International School of Toulouse, would have to be the lead organization. This was met with approval by Les Albiston and in 2004 Comenius approved our application. Established in October, 2004, the overall aim of E-HELP is to encourage and improve the use of ICT and the Internet in history classrooms in Europe. Richard has done an excellent job as coordinator and the European authorities approved our first two years work. Les Albiston was fully aware of the success of the project as he attended most of our meetings held in France, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. We are currently working on the final task of organizing the E-HELP conference to be held next year. I was deeply shocked when I heard from Richard that he was facing a disciplinary hearing at the IST. I phoned Les Albiston and tried to discuss this issue with him. However, it seemed that despite the evidence that had emerged since these false charges were made, he was determined to sack Richard. The news on 23rd December only confirmed my fears that Les was determined to carry out his plan of removing Richard from the staff of IST. I am aware that heads of institutions often use their power to remove members of staff who ask awkward questions. They usually employ methods that are fairly subtle and little fuss is made about these decisions. That option was available to Les Albiston. However, he decided to create as much stress as possible to Richard by sacking him just a few days before Christmas. Richard’s only crime was to question the dictatorial methods being employed by a head teacher who thinks he is running a school in Toulouse during the Vichy regime. This is not only an issue of Richard’s job. A fine school is being ruined by the actions of one man. It is no coincidence that Richard has been treated in this way. It is all part of his strategy to bully his staff into submission. Richard’s case is a warning to other staff members who might be tempted to resist his dictatorial rule. It seems to be working. I suggest that parents, students and staff should pay a visit to the Toulouse Museum of Resistance to see what happens when the oppressed do not join forces in order to resist tyranny. I am reminded of a poem written by Martin Niemöller. He was a German pastor who originally supported the Nazi government. He turned a blind-eye to how the Nazis treated those who resisted their rule. Then, in a sermon in his church on Sunday 27th June 1937, he complained about the way the “secret police penetrated the closed church of Friedrich Werder and arrested at the altar eight members of the Council of Brethren.” As a result of this sermon he was arrested and imprisoned. He was sent to Dachau but because he was not a political opponent of Hitler and was not a member of those who were considered by the Nazis as sub-human, he was not put to death. In 1946 he wrote this poem that says so much about the need to resist tyranny at the time it happens, not when it is political acceptable to do so. First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak out for me. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/LesAlbiston.htm http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/IST.htm http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=9029

    2. January 29, 2007 at 7:38 pm


      One group that can really help Richard in this conflict are you colleagues at IST. If this conflict is based on one copied paper and “rumours” some hidden personal reason(s) must be involved. Since we bystanders don’t get any answers from IST we can only speculate in what’s going on and that’s not a very creative way of approaching this conflict.
      Therefore it’s so important that you colleagues of Richard stand up and demand an open investigation about what is going on. My suggestion would be to involve parents, students, colleagues and people from the board in this investigation.
      It’s first of all important for Richard and his family! He and his family deserves a reaction from you colleagues!
      It’s important for your work climate. I’m convinced, being a teacher myself, that you want to work at a school that’s open for discussion and criticism when it’s necessary and with a board that treats you and your opinions with respect.
      It’s important for your students. You are their role models and your behaviour in this conflict will give them a valuable lesson about life. Your action/reaction will be evaluated by these students and you have the power to teach them about our fellow man responsibilities.
      It’s important for the parents of the students. They have given you the responsibility of teaching the most valuable asset they have – their own children. They trust you to give them guide lines for life as well as knowledge. As I understand they want to have answers to all the questions that’s surrounding this conflict and you can help them getting these answers.
      It’s important for Richards friends and partners in different projects. I have as you understand very little information about what’s going on at IST. My reaction in this conflict comes from the privilege of knowing Richard and get to work with him, first at Virtual School and now in the e-help project. I personally want to understand what’s going on at IST – an institution we have worked so beautifully together with. I have several times asked Les Albiston and the board of IST to please give some clues to why they sacked Richard. I don’t get any answers at all… That’s why I and my colleagues rely on the people that are the closest to Richard in his everday life at work to react. You colleagues at IST have to ask for an open investigation!
      So please IST colleagues don’t be quiet. I’m not asking you to go around with posters, to form demonstrations, to strike… I’m just asking you to react. Ask for an independent investigation that involves people from “both camps” and do it now before it’s to late!

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