Will it take a fatality before the authorities acknowledge that the school campus was not designed for young children?

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Unlike last year, the discrimination is not abstract any more:

(i) All the extra commuting, the lost sleep, the resulting poor behaviour and poor learning, the complete lack of contact with the school, the unfair transport charges and the general bureaucratic mismanagement of the school are concrete problems that have to be faced every day. There has been a general decline in standards, with teachers’ time eaten into by increased surveillance and supervision duties. The recent revelation of the poor, sugary food being offered to children in Lux II is symptomatic of the indifferent ethos of the administration. Children are not the cherished core of the school system, but a problem to be controlled and contained with an ever-thickening, ever-changing rulebook that is applied or ignored at the whim of the school authorities.images

(ii) The accidents have started, due to multiple, deep stairwells and other design flaws. The external and internal staircases are so patently dangerous that they require permanent supervision. Other injuries have been caused by the gravel in many areas of the campus which, although illegally located on a protected Natura site, has hardly a single patch grass. Some accidents go unreported, with tired parents being faced with barely legible accident forms in French. Will it take a fatality before the authorities acknowledge that the school campus was not designed for young children?

(iii) Parents are being pressurised by circumstances to expose their children to increasing levels of risk: to allow their young children to travel unaccompanied on public transport; to make their way alone from study centre to periscolaire activities and back again in the dark, between badly lit, badly monitored buildings and open spaces on the verge of a marsh. If that is safe, why are parents required to sign a form exempting the after care services from liability for anything that may happen? Is the Ombudsman for Children aware of this arrangement?

(iv) Apart from the structural and transport dangers, one has to point out that paedophilia is a fact and, few as they may be, paedophiles are drawn to places where unaccompanied children congregate. Lux II primary children are being asked to run much higher risks in that regard than Lux I or national primary school children.

(v) Weeks after the school opened plans were unveiled for a huge housing estate behind the school, previously concealed from parents and their representatives. This is how EU staff and their young children and EU public funding are being used to promote the private interests of private developers. Parents who obeyed the school’s orders, that they had to become commuters and pay inflated house prices in order to avail of public schooling, now face negative equity – on top of all the other disadvantages of speaking the wrong language.

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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