Why do I need to know this?
Maybe youre in a school like this yourself, or you have questions about whether this is all right.
Schools may, on the basis of freedom of religion and education, ask parents to sign a so-called identity certificate. Often these are a number of pages of text in which reformatory schools show what they care about and what the profile of the school is. This includes, for example, how the school likes to teach, what clothes students should wear, and how the Bible is used in the classroom.
But at the beginning of this year, one in five reformatory schools also stated in that statement that a relationship between two people of the same sex does not fit the school. This was shown by research conducted by the journalistic platform Pointer.
Who finds what?
Parents were asked to sign that statement if they wanted to send their children to that reformatory school. And there was a lot of criticism. Many politicians do not think it is possible that parents should first disapprove of homosexuality before their child is allowed to attend a reformatory school.
There were also angry reactions from organisations that stand up for gay rights. They believe that the declarations go against the prohibition of discrimination.
We talked to several young people who are in such schools about what they think of the statements.
What do the students think themselves?
Nick Schop (15) is at the Pieter Zandt Scholencommunity in Kampen. He believes that schools can simply ask his parents to sign the declaration – which denied homosexuality. “Its part of the schools faith. The moment you go to such a reformatory school, you are expected to behave like this.”
Even if someone is gay, hes okay with it. “You can also get lectures here as a gay person, but there is not much talk about it. Although I think that is the case in most secondary schools.”
Another 16-year-old student (who wants to remain anonymous) from the Reformatory School Guido de Brès in Rotterdam says that her school is less open to homosexuality. “It is not accepted at school if you are – just like me – completely okay with homosexuality.” According to her, its assumed that you disapprove of two men or two women showing that they have feelings for each other. “Having feelings is okay, but having a relationship or having sex with someone of the same sex is not allowed.”
She herself knows a boy in another reformatory school who was not allowed to walk or kiss hands with his friend in the schoolyard. “In his spare time it was okay, but at school he had to stop seeing them.”
According to three other students in different reformatory schools, that is understandable. They say that in their schools Ihbtiers are simply accepted, but it is not okay to put their homosexual feelings into practice. The 16-year-old Daan says: “We are guided by the Bible. And it clearly says that its not supposed to live like gay. We do not disapprove of the people themselves, but the behaviour.”
A 6VWO pupil at Van Lodenstein College in Amersfoort agrees with that. “It is simply a fact that there are also young people with a different sexual orientation. But from the Bible, marriage is meant between a man and a woman.”
A former pupil from another reformatory school (anonymously) tells us that he received a lot of support when he came out of the closet. “Especially from teachers at school. They better understood how I experienced that my family didnt recognize it. Other non-believers understood that much less well.”
That his school disagreed with his relationship doesnt matter to him. “I just think you can express that you are homosexual. But on the other hand, I think that a school or family can simply say that it is not allowed. They have the same freedom as I do to think differently.”
Are schools allowed to do this?
According to the Minister of Education, Arie Slob, schools have the right to request such a statement. According to him, this is because there is freedom of education and freedom of religion in the Netherlands. But at the same time he says that schools are obliged to provide a safe climate for all students.