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13 Apr, 2017 14:23

Dutch MPs vote to punish schools that refuse to teach LGBT awareness

Dutch MPs vote to punish schools that refuse to teach LGBT awareness

An overwhelming majority of MPs in the Netherlands' lower house of parliament have voted in support of a motion which would allow schools to be punished if they refuse to teach LGBT awareness, according to local media.

Most MPs in the Tweede Kamer supported the motion in a Tuesday vote, according to Dutch news outlet NOS. 

The proposal was put forth by Socialist Party (SP) parliamentarian Jasper van Dijk, who wants schools to be fined or face administrative action if they consistently refuse to teach their students about sexual diversity.

Van Dijk, who says that providing children with LGBT education contributes to the fight against discrimination, tweeted about the motion's success following the vote.

Although all schools in the Netherlands have been required to teach the curriculum since 2012, about 20 percent of primary and high schools do not do so, according to the Education Inspectorate. The same is true for about 40 percent of regional educational centers (ROCs).

The only parties which did not support the motion were the center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the Christian-right Reformed Political Party (SGP), and the right-wing Forum for Democracy (FvD) party.

VVD parliamentarian Dilan Yesilgoz said her party does not want to override the Education Inspectorate, stating that it also prefers to evaluate school curriculum as a whole, rather than focus on one part.

The motion will now be moved to the upper house of parliament.

The LGBT-friendly proposal comes after heterosexual Dutch men across the Netherlands and elsewhere held hands with other men earlier this month, in a symbol of solidarity after a hand-holding gay couple was attacked in Arnhem. Images of the movement were posted on social media under the hashtag #allemannenhandinhand (all men, holding hands).