Athens, February 4, 2022
Subject: «Complaintabout a racist incident in a School in Ilion, Attica, due to gender expression – Urgent need to take measures to protect LGBTQI + in the field of Education»
The Greek Transgender Support Association (GTSA), is a voluntary non-governmental organization that promotes the rights and freedoms of trans, gender-diverse, and LGBTI persons in general, with this press release strongly complains publicly about the racist behavior of a teacher, based on the gender expression of a gender diverse child, who attends the 1st Music School in Ilion, Attica.
Specifically according to the report of protothema.gr published on February 3, 2022 : A teacher of the 1st Music School in Ilion, took out of the class a gender diverse child who is a student to the specific school, because was wearing a skirt. The teacher, as the child’s parent states in the complaint to protothema.gr, as soon as he saw the child, he started insulting the child, provoking the reactions of the classmates. Specifically, he called the child “Shame of society”.
The incident took place on Tuesday, February 1, 2022, while according to the testimonies of the child’s classmates: “The scene took place on Tuesday between a teacher and a child of the 1st School. The child if wants or feels a girl has the right and does not concern anyone other than the child and the child’s family. The teacher, according to the children, made fun of the child in front of the whole class. He went so far as to call the child: “Shame of society”. He took the child out of the classroom and sent the child to the principal’s office. Even the parents of the child notified and went to school were, of course, asked for explanations “.
According to the report, protothema.gr contacted the school, whose principal did not want to make any statement.
Violence and bullying, insults and discrimination by the teacher, as well as the inability of the principal’s school to directly manage such issues, can make – and in this case proved – the school a threatening and unsafe place for the specific child.
Racism, bullying at schools, harassment, and violence, as shown by the incidents that come to light in our country, are increasing (we recall an incident in a school in Thessaloniki, where two schoolgirls received threats, as well as verbal attacks by their classmates, because in the context of the exchange of gifts in view of the holidays within the school, they showed LGBTQI flags) . The GTSA has recorded many complaints and testimonies of trans and gender diverse persons who report incidents of discrimination, bullying, isolation, and even racist violence in the field of education.
Typical example is the case recorded in 2012, of a trans student who was subjected to violence at school, to the point that she was in danger of being burned alive, as well as 2 cases of trans women that the school principal did not want to register them in a night high school. In fact, in the case of the trans student, following a relevant appeal made by the Transgender Support Association to the Ombudsman, in its conclusion stated that the school principal should comply with the restoration of a normal atmosphere in the school and take the following actions: a)the use of the name that she prefers in her relations with her classmates and teachersb)her female clothing preferences, as long as they do not exceed the limits of decency that apply to other female students and c)the use of the women’s toilet.
These should be taken into account:
1.Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity .Chapter VI. Education
[…] 31.Taking into due account the over-riding interests of the child, member states should take appropriate legislative and other measures, addressed to educational staff and pupils, to ensure that the right to education can be effectively enjoyed without discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity; this includes, in particular, safeguarding the right of children and youth to education in a safe environment, free from violence, bullying, social exclusion or other forms of discriminatory and degrading treatment related to sexual orientation or gender identity.
32.Taking into due account the over-riding interests of the child, appropriate measures should be taken to this effect at all levels to promote mutual tolerance and respect in schools, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This should include providing objective information with respect to sexual orientation and gender identity, for instance in school curricula and educational materials, and providing pupils and students with the necessary information, protection and support to enable them to live in accordance with their sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, member states may design and implement school equality and safety policies and action plans and may ensure access to adequate anti-discrimination training or support and teaching aids. Such measures should take into account the rights of parents regarding education of their children. […]
2.Guidelines of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on Discrimination, School Bullying and Harassment, Articles 5 and 6. Specifically:
[…] Article 5. Promote respect for and inclusion of homosexuals, lesbians and transgender persons in education and cultivate objective knowledge on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity in schools and other educational institutions.
Article 6.Combat bullying and harassment of homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuasl and transgender (LGBT) students and staff. Schools should be a safe environment for LGBT students, staff and students and you should provide them with material to effectively combat bullying and harassment against LGBTstudents[…]
3.Resolution 2417/2022 “Combating rising hate against LGBTI people in Europe”ofParliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe
[…] 14. The Assembly emphasises that it is precisely when hostility is high or rising that effective criminal provisions and anti-discrimination legislation are most crucial. It calls on member States to strengthen their legislative framework wherever necessary to ensure that it protects the rights of LGBTI people to be free from Resolution 2417 (2022) 2 hatred and discrimination, and to apply it effectively in practice.
16.6participate constructively in the periodical review process carried out by the Committee of Ministers regarding the implementation of RecommendationCM/Rec(2010)5 to member States on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity[…]
In addition, according to the recommendations of the National Commission for Human Rights (GNCHR):
[…]GNCHR proposes the amendment of Law 4443/2016 which introduces a system of prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination, so that its scope is not limited to the sectors of work and employment.
In particular, it is recommended to extend the scope of application of article 3 of Law 4443/2016 regarding the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and sex characteristics in the areas:
α)education (not only vocational education), in all its levels as well as in all forms of education services provided […]
Also, as stated in the Conclusion of the Committee of the National Strategy for Equality of LGBTQI +. Chapter 1 1. Fight against discrimination against LGBTQI + persons (Education without Exclusion)
[…]In relation to transgender children and adolescents in particular, the instructions of the Ombudsman should be taken into account, who in the case of a transgender student recommended by the school authorities to recognize her gender identity in practice as a fundamental element of her personality[…]
[…]An important first step in combating many problems in primary and secondary education is the drafting by the Ministry of Education of a specialized circular on the management of day-to-day issues of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics[…]
[…]However, it is not enough just to issue relevant circulars and formulate the appropriate programs. Central to the educational process are of course the teachers for whom special horizontal education and training programs should be provided. Although more specific reference will be made to this section in public sector training, these programs should address all aspects of the issue: combating school violence and bullying, social and political aspects education, sex education and wider health education issues. The aim is for teachers to be able to implement relevant programs in schools, to assist their school in its goal setting, so that it acquires a tradition of inclusion in these issues, and to have the knowledge required to advise in dealing with emergencies[…]
Finally, we remind you that according to Article 1 of Law 4491/2017 (legal recognition of gender identity) :
Article 1: Rights of the person based on gender identity and sex characteristics
[…]1. The person has the right to recognition of gender identity as an element of personality[…]
Based on the above, the GTSA calls on the State and the Ministry of Education and Religions:
1.To amend the legislation on equal treatment (Law 4443/2016), to include sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics in the field of education,
2.Take legislative action to address the public dissemination, distribution or production or storage of racist material in the field of education in accordance with the recommendations of the Council of Europe*
3.To amend Law 4823/2021 (Upgrading and Evaluation of the “New School”) and to add special provisions for trans and gender diverse persons who will be allowed regardless of whether they have legally changed the registration in accordance with their gender identity: (i) the use of the name according to their gender identity, (ii) their registration according to their gender identity, and (iii) the use of toilets or locker rooms according to their gender identity, in compliance with a relevant decision of the Ombudsman where in case of a trans student proposed to the school principal, to respect her will regarding the use of the name she wants in her relationships with her classmates and teachers, her women’s clothing preferences, and the use of the women’s toilet,
4.Implement ongoing training programs on issues of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics.
The GTSA expresses its support both to the child who faces issues of violation of personality, right to self-determination and right to education and security, as well as to child’s family, and at the same time complains in a direct and unequivocal way homophobia, transphobia, biphobia and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity and sex characteristics prevailing in the field of education, calling – in addition to the proposed legislative measures – for disciplinary control of the teacher, in order to take the appropriate sanctions for the restoration of the sense of justice in the school environment and to show that offensive behaviors based on gender expression or gender identity are not tolerated.
*Council of Europe, European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Report on Greece (fifth monitoring cycle), op.cit.,p. 11-12
THE BOARD OF MEMBERS
GREEK TRANSGENDER SUPPORT ASSOCIATION
15 ViktorosUgo, 10437, Athens
Trans Day Reception & Empowerment Center: Evangelistrias 6, Kallithea Athens, 17671
Tel. 210.9210 697 & 698 753 9741
Office hours for the public: Tuesday & Thursday – 12.00-20.00
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