On April 12, 1982, the Education Department of the Rayon of Telšiai dismissed (Miss) Stefanija Juozumaitė, a German teacher and also llth-grade homeroom teacher at the Žarėnai Middle School, for her religious convictions. For two years now Teacher Stefanija Juozumaitė has publicly attended church almost daily. For an entire year the teacher was persecuted by school Principal (Mrs.) Jankauskienė, the party organization and chekist Norkūnas. At the beginning of April, a representative from the Ministry of Education also threatened her with dismissal. Chekist Norkūnas continually intimidated the teacher and suggested she resign: if she agrees to collaborate with the security police, she can continue to teach and attend church, moreover, he suggested that she report regularly on Father Jonas Kauneckas' sermons.
On April 12th (Easter Monday), the teacher was dismissed without being given two-weeks notice as the law requires. Principal (Mrs.) Jankauskienė stated: "You're still hung over from Easter and are fired as of today, tomorrow you can pick up your work papers and your pay at the education department." She did not even allow the teacher to return written assignments to her students. "Someone will do it without you! " explained the principal.
The work papers carried the notation: "For not fulfilling all the obligations of Communist upbringing." That is an absolute lie, for Teacher (Miss) Juozumaitė trained the 11th grade well; there were no complaints against her. She simply did not teach atheism which was contrary to her convictions.
Since under Soviet law even a citizen who has violated work discipline cannot be dismissed without a written notice and other means of social persuasion (criticism in the press, at meetings, etc. is not considered a means of social persuasion, see Moreinas, Darbo ginčų nagrinėjimas (Investigation of Work Disputes), p. 93, (Miss) Juozumaitė appealed to the Telšiai People's Court to reinstate her as unjustly dismissed.
The trial was held on May 12, 1982, but the basic condition for dismissal, whether notice was given, was ignored. At the trial, absurd charges, uncorroborated by any witness, were made against the plaintiff as if she were the defendant: "It is known that she organized students for religious programs, transmitted news to the Chronicle, did not like Soviet holidays," etc. She was alleged to have been responsible for student (Miss) Stasė Molytė being forced to leave school. The student supposedly wrote a letter to the editors of Valstiečių laikraštis (Farmers' Newspaper) on the subject. The letter was submitted in evidence at the trial. But (Miss) Molytė stated at the trial that she did not write a letter to any editor. Furthermore, witness (Miss) Molytė maintained that what is written in the letter is slander. Teachers (Mrs.) Radzevičienė and (Mrs.) Balsienė testified that (Miss) Juozumaitė spoke against atheism at the school. When asked about this, Teacher (Mrs.) Tamašauskienė stated: "I've heard nothing about such statements." "How could you not have heard, your school is not that large," Prosecutor (Mrs.) N. Butnorienė assailed her. "No, I haven't heard!" Teacher (Mrs.) Tamašauskienė repeated a second time. And other witnesses became entangled in their testimony, which the spectators greeted with loud laughter. Judge Augustis kept correcting them and personally accused (Miss) Juozumaitė: "Didn't you invite students to Telšiai to view Father Kauneckas' movies?"
No one defended the plainfiff s interests at the trial, even the prosecutor failed to demand that judicial order and the law be observed. A trade union representative should defend the employee's interests, but Education Trade Union Representative Andrijauskas spoke like an accuser: "The hall is full. I've heard that (Miss) Juozumaitė asked believers in the churchyard to come to the trial. She instigated discord between believing and non-believing students. I see flowers, you are planning to present them to her as one who has been wronged . . ." It was obvious to the spectators that this was a routine trial farce: not a single witness proved that the teacher had spoken to the students about the Faith.
When the court's verdict was read, someone was heard to say in the courtroom:
"Don't worry little Stefanija! We won't forget you!"
On behalf of the Lithuanian SSR, on May 12, 1982, Telšiai, The People's Court of the Rayon of Telšiai, composed of presiding People's Judge V. Augustis and People's Councilors (Mrs.) J. Badaugienė and A. Balvočius, Secretary(Mrs.) A. Rimkuvienė, with the participation of Prosecutor (Mrs.) N. Butnorienė, Plaintiff (Miss) S. Juozumaitė, Defendant's Representative (Mrs.) P. Jankauskienė, Educational Employees Trade Union Rayon Committee Representative A. Andrijauskas, examined in public trial proceedings the civil case of Plaintiff (Miss) Juozumaitė, Stefanija, against the Rayon of Telšiai People's Education Department for reinstatement to work.
Having examined the case, the People's Court has found: The plaintiff worked as a teacher in the Rayon of Telšiai at the Žarėnai Middle School. On April 13, 1982, the Director of the Rayon of Telšiai People's Education Department dismissed her from work under par. 2 of art. 43 of the Work Law Code of the Criminal Code of the Lithuanian SSR, for not fulfilling all the obligations of Communist upbringing. She claimed to have fulfilled all the obligations of a German language teacher, her qualifications were suitable, therefore she should not have been dismissed from work. She asked to be reinstated.
The defendant's representative asked that the suit be dismissed because the plaintiff cannot work in education.
The suit is rejected on the following grounds: Under the People's Education Law of the Lithuanian SSR (articles 4 and 26), the process of teaching and upbringing is inseparable in a middle school. Teaching is conducted in a scientific framework without religious influence. The school's task is to form the young generation's Marxist-Leninist ideology. According to par. 39 of the General Education Statute for middle schools, the duty of the teacher is to impart solid educational information to students, form a Communist ideology and rear students in the spirit of Communist morals. Such pedagogical duties are also laid down in the outline of qualifications for educational employees confirmed on February 20 1978 by the Minister of Education of the USSR. Such obligations and duties are also inherent in curricula. However, it has been established by the explanations of both parties, and the testimony of witnesses (Mrs.) Z. Radzevičienė, Teacher (Mrs.) A. Balsienė and others that the plaintiff refuses to fulfill the task of Communist upbringing, even training students in a non-Communist spirit in violation of the law. Under the meaning of par. 2 of art. 43 of the work Law Code, an educator's suitability for his position is determined not only by a diploma, but also by his actual ability to perform such work, to rear students in a Communist spirit. Since the plaintiff has refused to work other than in pedagogy (she was offered a job in a library in another town — Ed. Note), therefore, the administration reached the correct conclusion that she is unsuitable for the position she held and correctly dismissed her and did not violate the law.
On the basis of articles 214-222 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Lithuanian SSR, 15, the people's court has decided: to reject the suit of Plaintiff (Miss) Juozumaitė, Stefanija, daughter of Povilas, to be reinstated to work. The verdict may be appealed within ten days to the Lithuanian SSR Supreme Court through this People's Court.
Signed by the People's Judge and Councilors.