Spanish government vows to overturn Right-wing initiative that lets parents block children from attending 'objectionable' classes

James Badcock
Vox has claimed educating children about gay rights issues

The Spanish government has said it will overturn a veto from the Right-wing party Vox that allows parents to pull children out of classes where they are taught about sexuality and gender issues.

After the regional government in Murcia agreed to the introduction of such a parental veto, Spain’s new Left-wing coalition government warned on Monday the measure was illegal and that it would enforce state school’s rights to guarantee the right to a diverse education.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal has claimed that the parental veto is necessary to prevent “the corruption of minors”, claiming that schools were teaching “erotic games to children under the age of six”.

Arguing that “this sort of conscientious objection is not covered by the law,” Spain’s government told Murcia that it must reverse its policy within one month.

Murcia initially sent instructions out to the region’s state schools to ensure that parents could opt in or out of talks and activities that may “go against their moral principles” at the start of the present school year.

However, the issue hit the headlines when Vox demanded the policy become law in return for supporting the regional budget for 2020. Vox has made similar demands in the regions of Madrid and Andalucia, where it also holds the key to centre-Right governments’ majorities.

Vox’s attack on what it considers the “totalitarian brainwashing” of children with LGBT-friendly messages mirrors a campaign by the ultra-Catholic HazteOir organisation, which has lobbied public schools to allow parents to opt out of life skills classes.

Isabel Celaá, the Spanish education minister, warned conservative parties that “children are not parents’ property”, while insisting that all activities and lessons imparted in the official school timetable are “compulsory and count towards evaluation”.

“The sons and daughters of homophobic parents have the same right as everyone else to be educated about respect, the promotion of human rights and being able to love whoever they want,” said Spain’s new equality minister, Irene Montero of the hard-Left Podemos party.

The Socialist-Podemos coalition has promised to repeal Spain’s current education law, which, among other things, makes Religion an official subject that counts towards students’ final grades.