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In an interview with the public broadcaster on Wednesday, the Polish Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek called the Warsaw Equality Parade an "insult to public morality", stating that Poles know perfectly well "who is normal and who is not" - You saw people dressed bizarrely, a man dressed like a woman, are they normal people in your opinion? There will be no consent for public moral corruption in Poland, just as there is no such consent in Hungary and other civilized countries- the Minister said.
Speaking in parliament, the Left party MP Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bąk condemned the Minister's homophobic remarks and filed a formal motion to adjourn the session. She demanded that the Council of Seniors convene and include the minister’s explanation into its agenda. - Why did the minister once again slander and insult citizens legally exercising their constitutional right to assembly? Why did he call the participants of the Saturday Equality Parade "abnormal"? Why does he incite hatred against non-heteronormative students? – she asked fervently.
The left-wing MP pointed out that Mr Czarnek’s efforts "to radically and totally subdue the functioning of every school" require an explanation as well. - Threatening headmasters with imprisonment, turning government-appointed school inspectors into "educational prosecutors", limiting students' rights... - she continued to list allegations against the minister but was not allowed to finish. Signaling that she had ran out of time, the Speaker of the Sejm Ms Witek cut off her microphone.
-I am glad we are going back to normal, but I’m afraid the same cannot be said either of the Left party nor of you- Minister Czarnek said answering Ms Dziemianowicz-Bąk. He accused the Left-wing MP of "brazen lies" and suggested that she should "listen to his statements once again". –Polish citizens can hear your rude narrative, the way you’re trying to falsify reality. If you do not understand the Polish language, I will not explain it to you- he added.
After his speech, Dziemianowicz-Bąk returned to the rostrum: - It is not your right, it is not your competence to deny students, young people, teachers, and any minorities their freedom to exercise their constitutional right to assemble and express their own views - said the left-wing MP. She then added: "The only language you know is the language of hate, language that leads students, who you should be looking out for, to self-harming and killing themselves". Her speech was drowned out by applause and laughter of members of the ruling camp.
Members of the Civic Coalition (Koalicja Obywatelska) submitted a motion to dismiss Mr Czarnek from his post as the minister of education and science. The information was announced on Wednesday at a joint press conference by the deputies of the Civic Coalition parliamentary club: Rafał Grupiński, Barbara Nowacka, Katarzyna Lubnauer and MPs Krystyna Szumilas and Elżbieta Gapińska. - Minister Czarnek must go, he is a bad and harmful minister, full of contempt and aggression. His statements about the youth, about part of the Polish society, disqualify him even as a parliamentarian, not to mention that they completely disqualify him as a person who is supposed to be responsible for the future of Polish children- said Barbara Nowacka.
But the minister’s words are not just empty rhetoric. They go hand in hand with the right-wing government’s recently announced plans to complete its education reform.
According to commentators and experts following the planned reform, after minister Czarnek’s changes have been implemented, the school will be, above all, intimidating. Following the announced amendment to the Education Law, government-appointed school inspectors will be given the power to not only suspend or dismiss the school’s headmaster but will also be able to appoint new ones. What is more, headmasters will also be held criminally liable for "exceeding their powers".
At the same time, the Ministry of Justice wants to introduce a prison sentence of up to three years for school and kindergarten directors who "exceed their powers" or "fail to fulfill their duty in taking care of a minor."
The planned changes, however, don’t just stop there. All students will be forced to choose between attending religion and ethics classes (according to the National Teachers’ Association, there are only about 700 ethics teachers in Poland, and the subject can also be taught by catechists), and high school students will have more history lessons with changed core curricula and revised textbooks. The minister also announced a new list of mandatory readings prepared by his advisors (there will be more works of the Polish pope John Paul II). On top of that, each time an organization wants to participate in classes, workshops, or school meetings, it will need permission from the government-appointed school inspector. Moreover, thanks to a newly established fund, Minister Czarnek will be able to single-handedly award grants for specific competitions and school projects.
-After the changes proposed by Mr Czarnek, our schools will be indoctrinating students with National-Catholic ideology, molding their minds according to a template proposed by the ruling party- says Dorota Łoboda, an education activist and member of the Warsaw City Council.
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