Vice principal stops non-Muslim student from running in a student council election
by Mathias Hariyadi

The incident, which occurred at the SMAN 52 Senior High School in North Jakarta, saw the teacher, Edi Sarwono, prevent a student, PI, from running for the student body. As a result, he lost his position as vice principal but he kept his job. This follows a string of similar acts of intolerance in the country’s schools.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Another episode of religious intolerance was reported recently involving a teacher in an Indonesian school.

Edi Sarwono, who teaches at the SMAN 52 Senior High School in North Jakarta, prevented a non-Muslim student from running for the student council in September.

Before the vote, a panel of teachers interviewed five candidates, one of whom, known as PI, was not Muslim. Because of this, the teacher had the student excluded from the race.

Footage from the interview shows Edi Sarwono, who was also the school’s vice president, objecting to PI's nomination on religious grounds.

When the story became public, lawmakers from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)[*] called for a investigation.

One consequence was that the North Jakarta Regional Education Subdepartment dismissed the teacher from his position as vice principal, but allowed him to keep his job.

Meanwhile, a probe began, including the other teachers, who could be prosecuted for failing to defend the principles of plurality in schools and equal opportunities for all students.

This case is but the latest in a long series involving Indonesian schools. In August, the PDIP expressed concerns about at least 10 incidents in state schools in the capital, that involved forcing girls, including non-Muslim girls, to wear the hijab, or keeping non-Muslims out of school councils.

[*] Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan.