A city-run kindergarten in the Austrian capital Vienna has fired a teacher because she “violated the kindergarten’s neutral stance on religion” by explaining her pupils, in response to questions asked by them, that on Christmas Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. According to the institution’s policy, “tolerance” means that religion cannot be tolerated, and “education” means that children must be kept unaware of the cultural context in which they grow up.
In the letter informing the teacher of the school board’s decision to fire her, one reads that city-run nursery schools “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 city of Vienna is currently governed by a coalition consisting of Social Democrats and Greens.