Latvian parliament approves moral education in schools

Vida Press

At the same time, MPs rejected a provision that suggested prohibiting distribution of materials that could leave a negative impact on the student’s moral development.

The proposal of MP Julija Stepanenko (Harmony) was therefore approved in part.

Stepanenko originally proposed to introduce legislation that would prohibit the spread and use of materials in schools which could leave a negative impact on students’ “moral, aesthetic, intellectual, or physical development”.

The proposal gave rise to a lively debate. The organization Papardes Zieds criticized the proposal, saying that political parties are turning against the freedom of teachers and students in the name of morality. Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Unity) slammed the legislation, saying that it “copies” the current ideological goals of Russia which has received much international criticism for its recent anti-LGBT legislation.

Meanwhile Roman Catholic Archbishop Zbignevs Stankevics, Lutheran Archbishop Janis Vanags, Orthodox Metropolitan Alexander, and Baptist Congregations Union’s Bishop Peteris Sprogis were in favour of the amendments and urged MPs to pass the legislation.

The organization Cenzurai Ne (No to Censorship) had prepared a petition, urging the Saeima to reject MP Stepanenko’s bill and insisting that the amendments demonstrated the government’s lack of trust in teachers and school headmasters. The organization said that the legislation was entirely based on personal convictions of and phobias of certain MPs that had no scientific basis. The country’s Education and Science Ministry, too, has indicated disapproval of the law.

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