Newsdeck

Inspection pushback

Polish activists condemn proposed inspections of LGBT-friendly schools

Polish activists condemn proposed inspections of LGBT-friendly schools
Two men hold the Polish and the LGBT community's symbolic rainbow flag as they join a peaceful rally of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) organizations called the 'Equality Parade' in downtown in Warsaw, Poland, 03 June 2017. To the list of demands of this year's parade they included the protection against discrimination and hate crime, marriage and partnership for all citizens, anti-discrimination and sexual education in schools as well as barrier-free cities. EPA/RADEK PIETRUSZKA POLAND OUT

Right activists who published a directory of LGBT-friendly schools in Poland condemned on Friday a plan by a parliament-appointed official to inspect the establishments on the list, saying it could have a damaging effect on young people.

Right activists who published a directory of LGBT-friendly schools in Poland condemned on Friday a plan by a parliament-appointed official to inspect the establishments on the list, saying it could have a damaging effect on young people.

LGBT rights are a deeply divisive issue in the predominantly Catholic country, and the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party has maintained its opposition to what it calls “LGBT ideology” in the run up to elections this year.

The LGBTQplusME project, coordinated by activist Dominik Kuc, published an online ranking of schools in Poland on May 10 based on how “LGBTQ-friendly” they were, according to the results of a survey.

It includes a list of the top 10 most friendly schools, part of a project, it said, to help people find “safe, open and tolerant” places to study.

A day later, the parliament-appointed Children’s Rights Ombudsman, Mikolaj Pawlak, told a conference organised by conservative Catholic organisations under the patronage of the education ministry that he would launch inspections to see “how this friendliness manifests itself”.

His office did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment on Friday.

Kuc told reporters that the schools on the list helped the psychological wellbeing of all children and that the proposed inspections could have damaging consequences.

“In the current situation schools are intimidated by the Children’s Rights Ombudsman,” Kuc said.

“The Ombudsman for Children’s Rights is actually taking children hostage in this political war, they will feel the effects of the announcement of these inspections.”

Religious conservatives have regularly argued that teaching about LGBT issues in schools is dangerous as it seeks to sexualise children, a position which is rejected by activists and NGOs.

Opposition lawmaker Marta Golbik also condemned the planned inspections.

“If he (Pawlak) is going to inspect friendly schools, maybe he will start inspecting friendly hospitals, playgrounds that are friendly for children,” she said.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish and Pawel Florkiewicz; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.