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Complaint to Chancellor of Justice over school's controversial immigration-themed project

The magazine Seura reported that the complainant's views back those of Finns Party MP Laura Huhtasaari and the grievance accuses the school of inciting hatred.

Tuomas Pöysti
Chancellor of Justice Tuomas Pöysti took over from predecessor Jaakko Jonkka at the beginning of 2018. Image: Nella Nuora / Yle

The office of the Chancellor of Justice confirmed on Friday that it had received a complaint about the Tampere school at the centre of a social media dust-up over a ninth-grade student project.

The office said that the grievance cited the actions of the school principal involved in the case. Last week the school took centre stage during a social media controversy when Finns Party MP Laura Huhtasaari condemned the institution for what she described as stoking hatred against democratically-elected politicians. Huhtasaari had previously grabbed headlines over allegations of plagiarism involving her master’s thesis in education.

According to an account reported in the magazine Seura, the complainant's views are similar to Huhtasaari's and the grievance accuses the school of inciting hatred.

The Chancellor’s office told Yle that the average time for processing complaints is two months, but it could also take longer. The office added that the case is in its preliminary stages and has not even reached the rapporteur.

The MP’s criticism turned on a poster created by ninth-graders, apparently offering commentary on the theme of immigration into Finland and is headlined, "Toward Finland or Death?"

Under the "Finland" headline are photos of President Sauli Niinistö and Greens MP Pekka Haavisto, while the images of Huhtasaari and her party leader Jussi Halla-aho appear under the "Death" text. An image, apparently of a boat full of asylum seekers at sea appears in the middle of the composition.

Tampere city leaders defend school

The school said that it had been targeted by hate mail accusing it of "jihadism" among other things. The institution added that it had since hired security as a precautionary measure.

At the time of the controversy the principal said that the images on the poster had been taken out of context, noting that the ninth-graders’ assignment had been to create a poster adopting a position on a specific issue.

The school said the principal had received no information about the complaint and would not comment on the reports.

"We have had a rough week because our solid basic work has been forgotten," the principal said.

Tampere mayor Lauri Lyly and city group CEO Juha Yli-Rajala have both defended the school against the Finns Party politician's allegations.

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