JOINT PRESS RELEASE | Returning to school after the break is not the same for all children

Copyright SolidarityNow

Joint PRESS RELEASE of the Child Rights Advocacy Network (CRAN).

The undersigned civil society organizations, members of the Child Rights Advocacy Network (CRAN), express our concerns regarding the measures recently adopted by Decision No. 44879/ΓΔ4 of the Deputy Minister of Education, Religious Affairs and Sports (Government Gazette B 2531/29-4-2024) to the fight against domestic violence and bullying. We believe that measures such as the reintroduction of five-day suspensions and the facilitation of changing school departments or school environment, act repressively and are not only in line with the requirements of modern pedagogical science but also with the legal commitments undertaken by our country under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (Law 2101/92) and specifically with Articles 28 (universal right of children to education) and 29 (objectives of education). Moreover, implementing these measures increases the risk of marginalizing many pupils, especially those from vulnerable social groups.

It is clear that no child is born violent. When violent behavior, including bullying, occurs, it is nothing but a reflection of the violence they are subjected to from various sides. The priority must be to invest in prevention and in looking for the factors that lead a child to become a perpetrator, while at the same time empowering and training education professionals and parents to help create a democratic school with the participation of children. A school in which democratic citizenship is actively cultivated so that a child becomes neither a perpetrator, victim, or observer.

For all the above reasons, we express our concerns about the recent measures adopted, considering them to be moving in a perverse direction and we call on the Ministry of Education, Religious Affairs and Sport to reevaluate these repressive measures, after consulting the educational community and civil society bodies that develop child protection actions.

The undersigned organizations – members of the Advocacy Network for Children’s Rights:

  1. Network for Children’s Rights
  2. Shedia – Centre for Pedagogical and Artistic Training
  3. Terre des hommes Hellas – Land of People
  4. Hellenic Council for Refugees
  5. Changemakers Lab
  6. Better Days Greece
  7. SolidarityNow
  8. ARSIS Social Organization for Youth Support
  9. Elix – Voluntary Work Programmes