Kindergarten Teacher Fired for Explaining Christmas Story

Country: Austria

Date of incident: August 21, 2015

Category: Government Restrictions

Attack against: Faith

Area of case: Education / Governmental / Workplace

A city-run kindergarten in Vienna has fired a teacher because she “violated the kindergarten’s neutral stance on religion” by explaining that on Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This was in response to the children's questions about the holiday. In the letter informing the teacher of the school board’s decision to fire her, one reads that city-run kindergartens “accompany children of diverse religious faiths as well as without religious faith; therefore the religious meanings of traditional feasts are not mentioned and must instead be replaced by other content (for example during advent by themes such as ‘family’, ‘friendship’, or ‘community’). You have not followed this approach, but instead informed the children several times … about the Christian meaning of Christmas”. The teacher explains, "I have answered only the questions of the children . . . I am a Christian, but not a religion teacher."