One day around the beginning of October, a sixth-grade class in Ejerlykkeskolen, a school in Odense, Denmark, was supposed to watch a film. But five or six students made some kind of a disturbance. The details are unclear; the point is that, in one way or another, they disrupted the class and made it impossible for their classmates to view the film. Their teacher tried to control them, but without success. Finally she gave up and sent them down to the principal, a woman named Birgitte Sonsby.
Now, Sonsby, by all indications, is no ordinary school principal. According to Poul Erik Anderson – upon whose intensive coverage of this story, beginning with an October 18 article in Den Korte Avis, the present account is largely based – Sonsby has been named the best school principal in all of Denmark. She is the head of the Odense principals' organization. She was recently selected over 353 other nominees for a leadership award presented by the city of Odense. And she has been officially commended for running a school in which students and teachers alike feel welcome. But on that day when those five or six kids were sent to her office to be disciplined, she was unable to do anything with them. When she tried to talk to them, they laughed in her face. Eventually she lost her temper. And she said something that she shouldn't have: "I'm so damn tired of you Muslims destroying education!"