Murcia will be the first autonomous community to regulate the parental veto, the power of parents to censor educational activities of their children, according to the principle of agreement reached between the regional president Fernando López Miras, of the PP, and the three wayward deputies of Vox whose Votes were decisive in defeating the motion of censure of the PSOE and Ciudadanos. The pact, of which only some fringes are missing, includes the tacit consent or positive silence of the parents, who must expressly oppose if they do not want their children to attend a certain talk or workshop during school hours.
What Vox calls “parental pin” is one of Santiago Abascal’s electoral flags, although he has not had a candle to this agreement, since last June he expelled three of his four regional deputies from the party in Murcia due to discrepancies over the group’s operation parliamentary. It will be precisely one of the wayward deputies of Vox, Mabel Campuzano, who assumes the Ministry of Education and Culture of the regional government, until now in the hands of the PP, with the aim that the veto power of the parents is in force next year .
So far, Vox has not managed to get the parental veto in place either in Andalusia or in Madrid, although in the first of these communities it was part of the investiture agreements and budgets. The Andalusian president, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, and the Madrilenian, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, have only agreed to provide families with prior information about the so-called complementary activities, but without attributing the power of veto to them.
Murcia is where they went the furthest, because in September 2019 the Ministry of Education approved an instruction that required schools to have the express authorization of parents for complementary activities, which take place during school hours although they do not have why be part of the curriculum and, on many occasions, in the educational centers themselves.
However, this instruction was suspended in February last year, when the Ministry of Education appealed to the Superior Court of Justice of Murcia. In July, the court itself closed the case, having been left without purpose, because with the end of the course the instruction of the Ministry declined. Education has not issued a new instruction with the argument that, due to the pandemic, this year there are no complementary activities, so that currently the parental veto lacks legal support.
What the three dissidents of Vox – who share Abascal’s ideology despite his expulsion – have proposed is that the Murcian Government regulate the parental veto through a decree that guarantees their permanence in the medium term and not a mere circular that declines in each course .
Vox justified its demand for the parental veto to combat what it called “indoctrination in the classrooms” by feminist and LGTBI groups, which are called by educational centers to give talks and workshops. Abascal came to appeal to the need to protect children from “erotic games” that, as he said, border on “the corruption of minors”; while the leader of her party in Madrid, Rocío Monasterio, assured that “eight-year-old children are encouraged to try new sexual practices” and are spoken of “zoophilia and paraphilia.” The circular of the Murcian Ministry of Education coincided with a campaign by the ultra-Catholic association Hazte Oír, which sent to more than 20,000 public and subsidized educational centers (in Spain there are about 28,000) a kit warning of an alleged “gender indoctrination “, Whereby the schoolchildren would be receiving instructions on” lesbian behavior “, abortion or what to do on Gay Pride.
All these hoaxes were denied by the presidents of Madrid and Murcia, Díaz Ayuso, and López Miras, who assured that the parental veto is not necessary because “there is no indoctrination in the classrooms” of their respective communities. But the need for Vox’s votes to remain in power has made both of them open to accept it with one formula or another.
One of the aspects that the future regulation should clarify is how it makes compatible the fact that attendance at these activities is subject to parental consent and, at the same time, they are mandatory and assessable, contrary to what happens with extracurricular activities.
In addition, complementary activities are included in the centers’ annual programming, which is public. Its celebration is approved by the cloister, presented in the school council, with representation of the families, and finally supervised by the educational inspection.
The formula chosen in Murcia, the positive silence, will probably cause very few parents to take advantage of it, but the centers will have to provide alternative activities for their children, and the sources consulted take it for granted that the issue will end up in court.
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