It has been three days since myself and Rezearta Cushaj broke the news of allegations of serious abuse, neglect, and failings by the Bashkia of Tirane, Nashi Shehepi, and the justice system.
One young boy was found to have severe bruising on his arms and after being questioned by the police, three psychologists, his parents, and being seen by a medical doctor, he pointed his finger at the Director of his school, Nashi Shehapi. Statements were taken, evidence was collected, charges were pressed, but yet two months later, the prosecution has yet to lift a finger. Shehapi has not been questioned, she has not been removed from her position, the Ministry of Education has not made a public statement, and the prosecutor Eriselda Bala is yet to return the calls of the father.
Let that just sink in for a minute- serious allegations of abuse have been made to the police, the prosecution, and then exposed to the public- yet nothing has been done. In America, England, Australia, and countries within the EU, if a teacher is accused of abuse, they are immediately suspended pending the results of the investigation. Regardless of whether they are guilty or not, they are removed at once from their position until a court has decided whether they committed the crimes or not. In cases of violence and sexual assault, this is the standard procedure because if the allegations are true, they are putting children at risk by letting them continue to work in that environment. If the allegations are proven to be false, the teacher is reinstated and cleared of all charges.
It is important to note that it is up firstly the prosecution to decide whether the case has merit, then it is up to the courts to reach a decision. Trial by social media is not grounds for someone being found guilty or not guilty, and a couple of trolls posting “my kid goes to that school and is fine” does not exonerate Ms Shehapi from the accusations made against her. There is absolutely no logical, legal, reasonable, or sensible reason why Nashi Shehapi should be continuing in her role as Director of Kindergarten No.1 until the prosecution or the courts have decided that she is innocent beyond all reasonable doubt.
I would also like to point out that defenders of Ms Shehapi have been quick to assume that the motivations behind this are political. To that I say, as a foreign citizen, I couldn’t care less what someone’s political allegiances are, nor do I care who is running this country. All I care about is the fact that a small child has been horrifically traumatize on two occasions and nothing is being done to ascertain who is to blame. I cannot vote and I have no interest in decades long political feuds, I wrote that story because I care about the fact that this boy represents dozens, or even hundreds of others that are abused, traumatized, and let down systematically by a system that is incapable of following due process.
The abuse of a child is not political and I do not believe for a second that anyone would not report their child exhibiting signs of violence, because it might be construed as political. This is a classic example of dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t. If your child came home covered in bruises and stated it was his teacher or director, would you be happy for that individual to retain their role until the truth came out either way? I highly doubt it.
The fake news that is starting to circulate about this case is nauseating and despicable and it seems that no one really cares about the little boy at the heart of the matter. The facts are exactly as they were reported in the original article and the only update on them is that absolutely nothing has happened to resolve the matter, and the investigation has not progressed one iota.
I know there are some that believe that by attempting to smear the name of the mother, the father, and the families of those involved, or by breaking the rules of ethical journalism and publishing the boy’s photos and name without permission, that they may intimidate people into silence. There are even those like Kira Shehapi, the daughter of the accused who think that by sending me a threat means I will take down the article- this is not the case. I know that there are also those that believe that their wall of silence and refusal to act means that eventually this will die down but let me assure you of one thing. I am not a political person and I don’t care who supports who, who has links with who, or who voted for who in the last election-what I care about is justice for that child, and I will not let it drop until justice is served.