Due to the right to freedom of education and freedom of religion, certain schools in the Netherlands can ask that parents sign a statement rejecting a homosexual lifestyle. This is in contradiction with a ban on discrimination, a majority of the House of Representatives finds.
Currently, reform schools in the Netherlands may ask the parents of their students to distance themselves from homosexuality. This requirement may be based on religious grounds and therefore falls under the right to freedom of education and religion.
However, in a debate yesterday, MPs asked whether this requirement is in direct contradiction with a school’s requirement to provide a safe learning environment for its students.
The majority of MPs found that statements such as these are “at odds with the citizenship mission of schools,” Nieuwsuur reports.
The citizenship mission
According to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Arie Slob, the citizenship mission of schools protects the right to freedom of education and religion. He therefore argues that schools have the right to ask for such statements. Slob is a Christian.
However, SP member Peter Kwint argued against Slob’s reasoning, saying “as a school you cannot have the task of creating a safe environment for students and at the same time require a statement to parents rejecting homosexuality. That makes it less safe for students both at school and at home.”
Not in the Netherlands
Rudmer Heerma of the VVD was in agreement. “Schools must be a safe place for every pupil, regardless of origin, religion or orientation. It is not possible for schools to impose conditions on this in our country.”
The majority of political parties in yesterday’s debate were in agreement on this matter. There are now 87 seats in favour of ending the requirement of such statements.
What do you think of making parents sign statements such as this? Let us know in the comments below!
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