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Philippe Delorme: “The“ separatism ”law results in deprivation of liberty”

La Croix: How do you welcome the bill reinforcing republican principles?

Philippe Delorme : With caution. We do not deny the difficulties generated by the rise of a form of “separatism” and “communitarianism”. But the spirit of this text is worrying. The state gives the impression of wanting to take full responsibility for education and relegate parents to the background. Parents who in our eyes must remain the primary educators of their children.

→ EXPLANATION. Separatism, what the law will change

By subjecting home education to prior authorization, on an exceptional basis, where until now a simple declaration was sufficient, the freedom of choice is called into question. The “separatism” law thus results in a deprivation of liberty.

What are you afraid of?

PD : That these authorizations are not a form of arbitrariness. The same goes for the reinforced control of private establishments outside the contract. The bill provides for the possibility of an administrative closure (without referral from the prosecutor, Editor’s note) if the children are in danger, which is desirable. But such a measure must be applied according to precise criteria.

→ READ. Catholic schools outside contract affected by the law against “separatism”

These fears do not concern your establishments …

PD: It is not so simple. Because freedom of education, which is part of the constitutionality block, is a whole. Its different modalities (freedom of educational choice for families, freedom to found a school, freedom to develop a specific educational project, etc.) form a system. And touching some of them inevitably has an impact on others.

In addition, we ask that the scope of Article 1 be
of the bill on the extension of the principles of state neutrality and secularism to private organizations “concessionaires, delegates and providers” of the public service. The principles of the Debré law of 1959, included in the Education Code, provide that private establishments under contract contribute to a public service mission by proposing a specific educational project, recognized as their own character.

The bill, in its current form, does not undermine this balance. But we would not want, in favor of a parliamentary amendment, no attempt to extend to Catholic education the principle of state neutrality. Our teachers benefit of course from a freedom of conscience but they must at least accept the specific character of their establishment. We cannot demand neutrality from our agents.

What do you expect from the parliamentary debate?

PD : That he comes to clarify and border the scope of this text. The bill and even more the declarations which accompany it, are a misreading of secularism. To say, as we hear, that once through the door to school, the child must forget the convictions that are expressed at home is absurd. Because fraternity is the difference. And allowing young people to meet and understand each other in their differences is the best way to contribute to a more peaceful, more fraternal society.


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