Response from the Ombudswoman for Children’s Rights – EN version

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This is EN version (Google translate) of response from the ombudswoman:

Notice regarding the allocation chleix classes E to European sites of Kirchberg and Handling.

The Ombuds-Committee on the Rights of the Child (ORK) has been entered 22 May 2012 by a group of parents of the European School, under the initiative of Gordon MACKENZIE, s These parents’ protest against a decision taken in 2004, of building a second school European Marner and allocate students based separation “vertical” (Or even following explanation Legal François Moses).

The group of parents who took the ORK sees this decision as a violation of children’s rights, specifically a discrimination2 students of the European School according to their nationalities.

1. Facts

The European Schools are official educational establishments created jointly by the governments of the Member States of the European Union. They enjoy a legal status of a public institution in each of these countries.
The first European School was established in 1953 in Luxembourg by the six countries of the European Economic Community was governed by the Intergovernmental Protocol on “Statute of the European School”, signed in Luxembourg on 12 April 1957.
The purpose of the European Schools is to provide multilingual education, multicultural and multireligious children to nursery, primary and secondary.

The first text dates from a time when the European Union had not yet made up of 27 members, including 24 different languages. The problem of the organization of the EA is born of the enlargement of the EU and its success.

The European School Luxembourg, now fully based on the Kirchberg site will be transferred to half on the site of the new school in Mamer Luxembourg it from the next academic year. Separation will vertically, depending on the allocation of the language section of the child. Only sections of the three languages (Language I) (DE, FR, EN) will be represented in the two schools. Other language sections will be distributed among schools according to various criteria (homogeneity of sizes, North-South balance of Europe, the balance between old country and new entrants).
The plaintiffs want or create a full horizontal separation to ensure that all children and all families are different sections facing the same benefits and problems of daily travel. They represent the interests of families who are not domiciled near Marner and do not therefore have the opportunity to keep their children close to their workplace. These have difficulty reconciling family and work, they want to avoid their infants traveling tedious.

The plaintiffs want the Convention on the status of European drowning is adapted to enable the school to opt for a horizontal separation. Indeed, a horizontal take better account of the basic ideals of the European School. (“Raised in contact with each other, released an early age by divisive prejudices, acquainted with the beauties and values of various cultures, it will, consciousness, growing up, their solidarity. Keeping the love and pride in their country, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate Pceuvre of their fathers for the emergence of a united and thriving Europe. “)

2. Different treatment amounts to discrimination if it is not based on an objective basis.

In this case, two reasons are given to justify the decision:
a) According to the provisions of Article 3.1 of the Convention defining the Statute of the European Eccles 2002: “The instruction given in each school covers tuition until the end of high school. It may comprise: a nursery school, a primary 5 years of teaching, a cycle of seven years of secondary education. ‘

This text has been interpreted as requiring that any European school is created based on complete language sections, including nursery, primary and secondary opening at the end of high school.

b) It would be physically impossible in practice to organize, on the same site, a school together 12 language sections and 24 languages taught (II and III) and this for 4500 students. No other school would propose such an education for many students at a time.

Recall that basic education is provided in the official languages of the European Union. This principle helps to safeguard the primacy of the mother tongue of the pupil (LI). Accordingly, each school has several language sections. With the exception of the language program, the distribution of courses and their contents are identical in each section.

The European School of Kirchberg currently struggling to make a parallel education quality in 24 languages for both language sections at a time. A change of perspective organization and time management is long overdue. For the moment, the director, Mr. Tournemire, assures us that everything is in place for
“Survive”, but the quality of education will suffer. Vertical separation would allow both European Schools provide a better education, because fewer children of the same age will be on the same site. Vertical separation would restore the school a human scale, because it would be impossible to establish close relationships between students from all 12 language sections in parallel.

3. Juxtaposition of the interests of a group of students and the general interest.

The applicants submitted that the decision to hold a vertical separation harms their interests and those of their children.
Horizontal separation would consider some of the benefits gained.

The ORK understands the applicants’ argument as how the presence of children on the site Kirchberg allow concerned parents a better balance between their professional obligations with school and extracurricular activities of their children.

Can we, however, in this context, evoke a discrimination, as argued by the applicants?
The ORK can not share this analysis. Insofar separation “vertical” based on objective criteria and considerations, rational, and therefore understandable, this approach does not a priori “discriminate” some students.

The ORK understands that being able to educate his children in a facility located near the work place of parents, can be an advantage.

Against by other parents prefer an implementation of the school near their home.

The siting of Marner was based at the time on a government proposal accepted by the European authorities. It is not the ORK currently analyzing the reasons for a decision a long time.

Discrimination is generally defined as a distinction between persons “by reason of their origin, sex, marital status …, membership or non-membership, true or supposed, to an ethnic group, nation, race or religion. ” Insofar as the explanations provided by the management of the school during the interview with the ORK can not detect an arbitrary decision based on considerations only “ethnic” or nationalities, such a characterization does not seem justified . The arguments developed by management to explain the inability to offer on both sites a quality education at all levels and in all sectors, we seemed plausible. While the choices may be perceived as more advantageous for certain sectors (nationalities) and for others it is not so far established that these decisions were taken in a discriminatory intent.

Similarly, the right to education is not really challenged by the measure. Parents of students involved who may not wish to expose their children to travel by bus, deemed contrary to their interests, always have the possibility to change their children language section within the European School to enroll in a school private or enroll in public schools in Luxembourg. In this context, the fact that the decision on the vertical separation and implantation was known for many years, was also allowed parents to take steps to reduce the negative impact of busing unwanted.

Parents say that the decision would affect the right to leisure guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the extent, the travel time, the free time will be reduced. It is a fact that the journey time will have implications on the free time of the children concerned. The ORK believes, however, that this finding and the actual length does not exceed what can be considered acceptable.

In this context, the ORK is a reminder that the constraints imposed on disabled children, transported across the country to specialized institutions, are far more incisive.
Right to secure transportation, adapted to the age of the child?

The ORK fully shares the concern of parents who send their now young children (kindergarten and primary) bus to Kirchberg Marner. It is in the nature of parental obligations to protect their children, to give them maximum support and amenities.

Article 38 of the General Regulations of the European Schools stipulates that the organization and management of school transportation are the responsibility of the legal representatives of students, whether parents acting individually or through d ‘any group or third parties. Thanks to the collaboration between the Association of Parents of the European Schools in Luxembourg Association of School Transport for Pupils European Schools and the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure of Luxembourg, a mobility plan is being development.

The ORK recommends that the authorities concerned to take account of the complaints of parents to establish an effective security plan to ensure school transport monitored to ensure better protection of children, as well as trips organized optimally to reduce the time to a minimum.

In conclusion, after analyzing the arguments of both sides, the ORK believes that if the grievances of the applicant parents based on considerations respectable real difficulties, decisions taken by the competent authorities, shall not constitute a violation of children’s rights.

While stressing that the ORK, with the limited resources at its disposal, is not able to make a definitive judgment on their merits, the arguments raised by the management of the European School can not conclude a decision contrary to the public interest.

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Aim of the European Schools

Educated side by side, untroubled from infancy by divisive prejudices, acquainted with all that is great and good in the different cultures, it will be borne in upon them as they mature that they belong together. Without ceasing to look to their own lands with love and pride, they will become in mind Europeans, schooled and ready to complete and consolidate the work of their fathers before them, to bring into being a united and thriving Europe.

Marcel Decombis, Head of European School, Luxembourg between 1953 and 1960

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