Majority Lower House wants action against ‘door policy’ religious schools

Schools should never again be able to refuse pupils on the basis of their philosophy. That is what a majority in politics has been wanting for a long time, and today the Chamber is voting on a new proposal from the SP which should regulate the legal acceptance requirement for all schools.

If it comes to legislation, special schools such as reformatory or Islamic can no longer refuse pupils with a different view of life. A large majority of VVD, D66, SP, PvdA and GroenLinks are in favour of the plan. But that the obligation to accept will soon be there, is by no means certain.

Discussions that affect education and religion have long been sensitive in politics. Enraged reactions were there last week, when Minister Slob of Education defended signing anti-gay statements at the Lodestein College and referred to Article 23. Slob took his statements back a day later.

According to the PvdA, Article 23 was once intended to allow parents to choose the school of their ideals. Labour Party leader Asscher believes that it is now โ€œabused to refuse pupils. Because of a language backlog or because parents adhere to the wrong faithโ€.

โ€œ Minister Slob has unintentionally demonstrated perfectly this week why things really have to be different,โ€ said Asscher Saturday on NPO Radio 1. Such a change is not easy and will take a while, but is worth it, says Asscher.

The SP agrees with that, but the trajectory is long. With his proposal, SP MP Van Dijk wants to โ€œput an end to the door policy that special schools can conductโ€ faster. Van Dijk: โ€œIt is too crazy for words that a school can refuse a child because it is not Christian. I prefer to see all the children go to school together.โ€

Coalition pain?

If D66 and the VVD today agree to the SP proposal, what about coalition agreements to leave freedom of education and Article 23 unaffected this reign?

These agreements are indeed there, but this motion has been drafted in such a way that โ€œthe pain in the coalition will not drive the four parties apart immediately,โ€ says D66, MP Van Meenen. He doesn‘t deny it’s sensitive. โ€œBut the motion does not call on the government to anything, a โ€œspeaks outโ€ wording has been chosen. That‘s a start and can help a little bit.โ€

Christian Union member Bruins does not support the motion and says in a reaction that, according to him, โ€œfortunately, in practice, there is almost never any refusal from schoolsโ€. Bruins: ‘99.4% of schools have no admission policy, while the other 0.6 percent refusal is almost never foundโ€. He does not want to go into the support for the motion of coalition colleagues VDD and D66. The CDA says it wants to discuss the matter in the group first Tuesday morning.

Van Meenen calls it very important for his party to say โ€œwhere we standโ€ and has therefore co-signed the motion. The rejection of children for their views of life has long been a thorn in the eye and leads to a division between children. He expects it to be something that will play a part in the forthcoming formation negotiations.