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Supreme Court rules on "Education for Citizenship"

Spain’s Supreme Court decided today against the petition of conscious objection by parents who don't want their children to take an "Education for Citizenship" course. The conclusion was reached, after two-and-a-half days of deliberation, with favorable votes of 22 magistrates out of 30.

The Court’s pronouncement says the decrees regulating this class “by themselves do not infringe on the parents’ fundamental right to have their children receive religious and moral education according to their own convictions.”

Fabian Fernandez de Alarcon, an objecting father of six, told me the parents are waiting to read the text of the decision, which will be available in a few days, but that they remain determined to bring the case before the Constitutional Court. He stressed the fact that some regional courts decided in favor of objecting parents and that those rulings are firm, “unless the district attorney’s office appeals and requests for the Supreme Court’s verdict to be applied.”

Profesionales por la Etica, a civic movement against the class, distributed a press release saying, “Parents’ efforts to defend their freedom and their children’s are unstoppable. Beyond the compulsory nature of any law or sentence, a democratic government cannot be insensitive to a reality that has brought more than 52,000 objections and almost 2,000 appeals.”

Mercedes Cabrera, Minister of Education, said in a video broadcast by her department: “There is nothing in this class to invade students’ fundamental rights; on the contrary, Education for Citizenship teaches them their rights and duties in a democratic and tolerant society.” Cabrera welcomed the Court’s conclusion: “The Supreme Court has put an end to the attempts to make this class and schools a political battlefield. Some political and social groups did not hesitate to create an artificial and sterile controversy with political ends, without caring about the quality of our youth’s education.” “I ask those parents who have prevented their children from attending the class to act responsibly and allow them back to the classroom,” she added.

It is not yet clear whether the children who have declined to attend the Education for Citizenship class will be required to start attending classes or whether they will be able to sit out until a final decision is reached.