Education Minister again accused of verbal, physical harassment

The Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science has received a complaint about “verbal and physical harassment” by Education Minister Dennis Wiersma, his spokesperson confirmed to ANP. That happened last week Monday after the Minister visited the Day of Practical Education in Bussum. The organization reported the incident to the Ministry, which promised to enter into discussions with those involved.

The Sector Council for Practical Education, which organized the event, spoke in a press release about an “incident” with Wiersma and “persons from the organization of the congress.” An involved person who asked to remain anonymous talked about an “unpleasant” conversation. As long as discussions are ongoing with the Ministry, the Sector Council will not comment on the circumstances.

Wiersma has been under fire for months because of reports of misconduct. After reports about it in the media in April, Wiersma admitted that he had been sharp and sometimes too harsh towards his officials. A month later, it turned out that there were also complaints about Wiersma’s behavior from his time as a VVD parliamentarian. The complaints came from within his faction. In conversation with the faction, the Minister apologized for his behavior. The VVD expressed confidence in the Minister after he promised that the misconduct was a thing of the past.

At a recent VVD congress, Wiersma repeated his apologies and again said: “I’ve learned my lesson; it won’t happen again.”

Mark Rutte has said several times that he thinks that fellow VVD member Wiersma can stay on despite the reports. “I understand that Dennis Wiersma wants to talk to the people involved. That seems good to me,” Rutte said after the latest report.

According to Wiersma’s spokesperson, the incident in Bussum is the only report the Ministry has received since the misconduct reports in April. De Telegraaf also reported about “spirited conversations” between the senior officials of the Education Inspectorate and Wiersma on Wednesday. An Inspectorate spokesperson confirmed this without wanting to make a value judgment about the conversations.

The Minister has been ill since Friday and has, therefore, also canceled a visit to India. According to his spokesperson, the Minister’s absence has nothing to do with the report against him.

Reporting by ANP

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