16 November 2012
Valentin Abottspon, the Swiss teacher who was fired for removing a crucifix from his classroom in 2010, has won his appeal against his dismissal. The cantonal court in Valais ruled that Valentin's dismissal was unlawful, although did not conclude whether or not it is legal to display a crucifix in a public school in Switzerland. 
I was fortunate to meet Valentin last year at the launch of the International Association of Freethought in Oslo and again at the 2012 European Atheist Convention in Cologne, Germany, earlier this year. He comes across as a dedicated teacher who did not ask for this particular fight, but found himself in it because he took a principled stance and refused to back down.
As I wrote in an article about his situation last year, it's critical that we, as a community, support those who take a stand for secularism: "If Valentin had not taken a stand I doubt I would ever have heard of him. He could have chosen to silently fume at the imposition of one specific religion in his classroom; he could have maintained his financial security away from media attention and social criticism. But he didn’t...Sometimes it’s tiresome to continue to “like” Facebook pages, respond to online polls, sign petitions, and write emails to legislators. We wonder if it really matters whether or not we put our name to one more issue. But we all need to keep in mind that behind each of those pages, polls, petitions, and issues are people who are making personal sacrifices so that the world may be a more rational place. They deserve our support, not least because providing that support makes it that bit easier for the next person to take a stand."
It's great to see that Valentin's actions have been vindicated by the court, and I hope this inspires other Swiss teachers!