Germany, Spain, United States, Israel/October 25, 2020/https://pledgetimes.com/Bhavi Mandalia/Source:
It was barely a week ago: spontaneous tributes, all over France, to Samuel Paty, this history professor beheaded by an Islamist terrorist. After the shock and the ceremonies come the questions. What if the school was not the sanctuary we believe? Few of the countries where, as in France, secularism is so central. This does not, however, protect the school from the pressures of political Islam. Beyond the religious question, elsewhere, how is the transmission of values, of living together? Are questions of religion, racism or sexuality being addressed in class?
In Germany, teachers are not immune to threats and pressures. They themselves talk about harassment and hate campaigns when certain topics are discussed in class. This is particularly the case in one Land, North Rhine-Westphalia. Teachers in the region are regularly the target of cyber-harassment from far-right activists, for example when they discuss democracy and the threats that neo-Nazi groups pose to it in class.
In Spain also, it is the extreme right which tries to interfere in the schools. Here it is the sex education classes that pose a problem. In the region of Murcia, in the south-east of the country, the far-right Vox party has managed to obtain a sort of veto right for parents. They can thus prevent their children from attending classes that are contrary to their beliefs, such as education and sexual diversity.
In the USA, no legal ambiguity: freedom of expression is one of the foundations of American democracy. This is the first amendment to the Constitution. But at school, this freedom of expression sometimes reaches its limits. And addressing certain subjects through drawing, such as the issue of racism raised by the Black Lives Matter movement, is not always easy. For example, in Wylie, Texas, a teacher asked his students to analyze a newspaper cartoon referring to the death of George Floyd, which put police officers, slave owners and members of the Klu on the same plane. Klux Klan. An initiative which immediately provoked an outcry from the Fraternal Order of the Police.
In israel, religion is one of the most complicated subjects to discuss, at school, in the press or in public debate. However, the country has a long satirical tradition: the leaders are laughed at a lot on television or in the newspapers. But religions, Jewish obviously but also Christian and Muslim are protected by law and the very idea of religious caricatures is difficult to imagine.
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.