Article 23 of the Dutch constitution calls for freedom of education, allowing those of different beliefs and religions to seek out schools that are best for them, as long as the schools follow the Dutch curriculum.
But how far can this freedom be stretched? That was the question this week in Dutch parliament, where the Minister of Education said that it was fine for a reformational school to have parents sign a “identity declaration” in which they reject homosexuality. The parliament disagreed with him, and eventually the minister had to go back on his word.
But the problem here is not the minister, but the law. Article 23 protects the freedom of religion in education, but not more than that. Democracy, human rights, and respect for your fellow humans, are values that deserve to be protected too.
The Dutch Humanist Association, Humanistisch Verbond, wrote a letter to the Minister of Education, calling upon him to start this debate regarding Article 23, and the limits to the freedom of education. To create an environment where all students can feel welcome, and express themselves however they feel comfortable.
If you would like to sign the letter, or just read it, go to the website of the Humanistisch Verbond by clicking here.