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January 21, 2016

Detroit teachers stage sickout to protest working conditions as Obama visits

Detroit teachers stage sickout to protest working conditions as Obama visits

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

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A majority of Detroit public schools were closed yesterday due to a coordinated “sickout” of teachers. This work stoppage was the latest in a series of showdowns with state government and was timed with an arrival by the President to attend an auto show. Activists used the opportunity to hold rallies to air their grievances publicly.

Educators have staged several work stoppages to protest the dilapidated state of public schools as well as Governor Rick Snyder‘s plan for the schools, which involves spliting the school district in two. Yesterday’s protest closed over 85 schools and followed last week’s efforts which shut down more than 60 and prompted visits to school sites by Mayor Mike Duggan and inspectors. Detroit Public Schools is several hundred million dollars in debt and has been under the administration of emergency manager Darnell Earley for a year.

The “sickout” strategy attempts to sidestep Michigan law which prohibits teacher strikes. Schools have been found with mold in walls, crumbling infrastructure, and infestations.

In response to the sickout, the school district has filed a lawsuit and sought an injunction against the union as well as individual activists and teachers.



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October 28, 2015

Time magazine names Ahmed Mohamed to \’Most Influential Teens of 2015\’

Time magazine names Ahmed Mohamed to ‘Most Influential Teens of 2015’

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Time magazine named 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed yesterday to its list of “30 Most Influential Teens of 2015”. He was made famous after being taken into custody by police when a teacher thought a clock he brought to his Texas school looked like a bomb. Mohamed joins the ranks of influential teens including US President Barack Obama’s daughter Malia Obama, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.

Ahmed Mohamed at Ames Research Center in 2015
Image: Courtesy of the Office of Congressman Mike Honda.

Time said of Mohamed in announcing the news: “Not many people make national news by bringing a homemade clock to school. But the ninth-grader’s arrest, after teachers and authorities mistook said clock for a bomb, kicked off a national debate over racial profiling”.

Cquote1.svg The ninth-grader’s arrest […] kicked off a national debate over racial profiling Cquote2.svg

Time magazine

Texas student Ahmed Mohamed and NASA Astronaut Alvin Drew at the 2015 White House Astronomy Night.
Image: Harrison Jones, hjonesphotography.

Mohamed traveled to the White House last week where he met with US President Barack Obama. His family said last week that they would move from Texas to Qatar, where Mohamed was offered a full-scholarship to a well-respected school in the country.

The September 14 incident in Irving, Texas triggered a wider discussion about Islamophobia within the community. The Twitter hashtag #IStandWithAhmed became part of a social movement in support of the youth. After news of the police response was reported, Mohamed received support online ranging from US President Barack Obama to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg.

Mohamed brought the digital clock he made to school on September 14, and a teacher mistakenly thought it resembled a bomb. Police arrested and questioned the student. Images of the boy wearing a NASA T-shirt and handcuffed by the police were quickly posted and reposted online.

Cquote1.svg Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? Cquote2.svg

—US President Barack Obama

The Twitter attention led to outreach from Google and Mohamed was invited to their Google Science Fair. Mohamed was a VIP guest at the Google Science Fair, and met finalists at the event held at Google’s headquarters located in Mountain View, California. Co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, personally met with Mohamed during his visit to Google.

US President Barack Obama tweeted using his @POTUS account: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.” Twitter gave Mohamed the option to come to their company for an internship. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg tweeted to Mohamed and said the boy was welcome to come and tour the company.

Both the Irving Independent School District and the Irving Police Department have asserted that the boy’s religion and name were not a factor in the manner in which they approached the situation.



Related news[]

Sister links[]

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Ahmed Mohamed clock incident
  • Commons-logo.svg Ahmed Mohamed clock incident
  • Wikisource-logo.svg We Stand with Ahmed – and We Hope He’ll Join Us for Astronomy Night

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October 26, 2015

South African president announces no fee hikes

South African president announces no fee hikes

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Monday, October 26, 2015

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President Zuma in 2014.
Image: U.S. Department of State.

The president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, announced on Thursday morning he would meet protesters who stormed the parliament. The president met the protesters last friday, while at the outside of the building the police fired teargas against the protsters. After the talks the president announced in a press-conference, that the fees will not be hiked in the next year.

The protests began on last Monday. Students are angered by raised tuition fees. The protests continued on Wednesday while students from Capetown University marched from the campus to the parliament. At the parliament, they stormed the grounds and sat down in front of the building, preventing members of Parliament from leaving. The hashtag #FeesMustFall has been trending nationally and is being used by the student protestors to communicate.

Fees were initially hiked 10%. Later, this percentage was decreased to 6%.

According to the protesters, police used teargas against them. “The protest was peaceful but we were met with violence from the police,” said Aziz Matthews, 23, a senior at the university. In a statement of the South African Police Service, a spokesman said: “The behavior of those students is unacceptable and should not be condoned in any way”

Because of the protests, lots of universities all over the country were shut down.



Sources[]

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South African president to meet parliament-storming protesters

South African president to meet parliament-storming protesters

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Monday, October 26, 2015

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The president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, announced on Thursday morning he will meet protesters who stormed the parliament. The president meeted the protesters last friday, while at the outside of the building the police fired teargas against the protsters. After the talks the president announced in a press-conference, that the fees will not be hiked in the next year.

The protests began on last Monday. Students are angered by raised tuition fees. The protests continued on Wednesday while students from Capetown University marched from the campus to the parliament. At the parliament, they stormed the grounds and sat down in front of the building, preventing members of Parliament from leaving. The hashtag #FeesMustFall has been trending nationally and is being used by the student protestors to communicate.

Fees were initially hiked 10%. Later, this percentage was decreased to 6%.

According to the protesters, police used teargas against them. “The protest was peaceful but we were met with violence from the police,” said Aziz Matthews, 23, a senior at the university. In a statement of the South African Police Service, a spokesman said: “The behavior of those students is unacceptable and should not be condoned in any way”

Because of the protests, lots of universities all over the country were shut down.



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

October 23, 2015

Masked man kills two in sword attack at Swedish school

Masked man kills two in sword attack at Swedish school

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Friday, October 23, 2015

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A masked man killed a teacher and an 11 year old student in a sword attack at a school in Trollhättan, Sweden yesterday, before police who arrived at the scene fatally shot him.

Trollhättan Municipality is located in western Sweden.
Image: Nordelch.

The teacher died on the scene, while the student was sent to a hospital before he died.

In addition, three others have been injured in the sword attacks. The injured, who are hovering “between life and death” according to Doctor Lars Spetz, have been sent to the Norra Älvsborgs Länssjukhus hospital for treatment.

Cquote1.svg It is a black day for Sweden. Cquote2.svg

Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden

“It is a black day for Sweden,” Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden, who later visited the school, said in response to the attack.

Bo Johansson, head of the Swedish Teachers’ Union, expressed concern that schools are too open. Johansson said that schools should not be so open that “anyone can walk in,” even though “of course schools should be open to society.”

The school in question, Kronan, had a high immigrant population, The Guardian reported. Expo, a non-profit anti-racist organization which publishes the Expo magazine, said online that authorities are “investigating a possible political motive,” citing unspecified sources. Expo adds that the attacker may have held racist views, stating that he had shown “clear sympathies for extreme right-wing and anti-immigrant movements,” and that the attacker has “‘liked’ videos glorifying Nazi Germany” on the online video sharing site YouTube.

The man, dressed like the Star Wars character Darth Vader, posed for a photo with students, who believed that he was pulling an early Halloween prank, before he started attacking others with a sword. A student who attends the school said that fellow students “initially thought it was a joke.” The photo showed the man holding a sword and wearing a helmet.



Sister links[]

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Trollhättan school attack

Sources[]

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October 4, 2015

Several dead in Oregon college shootings

Several dead in Oregon college shootings

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Satellite map of the college campus.
Image: US Geological Survey.

Nine people were killed on Thursday by 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. By various reports seven or nine people were also injured. Officials said Mercer killed himself during the subsequent shootout with police.

Mercer began the killing spree in a class where he was a student by shooting the class teacher, and killed eight students in that and at least one other classroom. In the next classroom, a student nurse unsuccessfully tried to save the life of her friend who was wounded by the gunman. Another student, ex-soldier Chris Mintz, was shot seven times after coming to help.

The reasons for the attack are not known but CNN reports he singled out people who identified themselves as Christian. The BBC noted Mercer may have revealed his plans via social media and possibly left a written statement. He briefly served in the US Army in 2008.

An ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) agent said authorities found six weapons at the college and a further seven weapons from the gunman’s home, including a shotgun, all of which appear to have been obtained lawfully by Mercer and members of his family. State laws permit people to carry concealed weapons in higher education institutions and at least one other person at the college was armed. Oregon recently passed a new gun law in response to a shooting incident in 2012, in which a man used a stolen rifle to murder two other people in a Portland shopping center.

Cquote1.svg Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it Cquote2.svg

—Barack Obama

Later on Thursday, President Barack Obama spoke for twelve minutes about the incident and called for stricter gun controls in line with other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom. Referring to earlier similar shootings, he said “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it. We have become numb to this”. This is reportedly the fifteenth occasion Obama has spoken out after such a killing spree. He expressed his belief that there would soon be a “press release” from the pro-gun lobby, who would call for a reduction of gun controls. He also predicted there would be criticism levelled at him about his politicization of the matter, but he said “this is something we should politicize.” Although no new initiative was outlined, Obama highlighted Congressional opposition which had stopped “the collection of data on shooting incidents” and stated “this is not something I can do myself.”



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Umpqua Community College shooting

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September 22, 2015

Texas student Ahmed Mohamed inspires social movement

Texas student Ahmed Mohamed inspires social movement

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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News of police response to a boy’s digital clock in Texas last week has inspired a global social movement in support of the youth. Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old boy from Irving, Texas, was arrested at his school by police after he brought a digital clock he had made to school. After news of the police response was reported, Mohamed received support online ranging from US President Barack Obama to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. Yesterday Mohamed received VIP attention at Google headquarters in California at the Google Science Fair — and tommorow he plans to meet international dignitaries at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

US President Barack Obama tweet to student Ahmed Mohamed
Image: Twitter/Barack Obama.

Mohamed brought the digital clock he made to school on September 14, and a teacher mistakenly thought it resembled a bomb. Police arrested and questioned the student. Images of the boy wearing a NASA T-shirt and handcuffed by the police were quickly posted and reposted online.

Cquote1.svg Hoping that the #istandwithahmed movement translates into a substantive national conversation on race, punishment, and incarceration. Cquote2.svg

Marc Lamont Hill

The Deseret News observed that the hashtag on Twitter, #IStandWithAhmed, had become an international phenomenon. The Straits Times noted what began as individual messages to Mohamed had grown into a “support movement”. American academic and professor Marc Lamont Hill commented, “Hoping that the #istandwithahmed movement translates into a substantive national conversation on race, punishment, and incarceration.”

The Twitter attention led to outreach from Google and Mohamed was invited to their Google Science Fair. Mohamed was a VIP guest at the Google Science Fair this weekend, and was able to meet finalists at the event held at Google’s headquarters located in Mountain View, California. Co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, personally met with Mohamed during his visit to Google.

On Wednesday, Mohamed and his father are to travel to the United Nations. His father Mohamed El-Hassan Mohamed said he was taking his entire family to the U.N. headquarters in New York, because international dignitaries wanted to meet with his son and express their support.

Psychology major at University of Texas Arlington Amneh Jafari heard of the incident and wanted to issue her support to Mohamed. She chose the hastag #IStandWithAhmed and posted to Twitter. Jafari said she felt Mohamed had been subject to Islamophobia and her hashtag created greater awareness about this issue. The hashtag took on a life of its own, and was used in messages on Twitter over one million times by Thursday night.

NASA tweeted support of Ahmed Mohamed via its account International Space Station
Image: Twitter/NASA.

US President Barack Obama tweeted using his @POTUS account: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

Twitter gave Mohamed the option to come to their company for an internship. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg tweeted to Mohamed and said the boy was welcome to come and tour the company.

Executive director of the Dallas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Alia Salem said Mohamed wishes to use his newfound fame and attention to spotlight social causes including the treatment of Muslims in the United States.

University of Texas Arlington Muslim Student Association president Sehar Memon said the large amount of positive feedback for Mohamed had helped make his situation much better. Memon also said she believed the social movement in reaction to Mohamed helped improve Muslim/non-Muslim.

Both the Irving Independent School District and the Irving Police Department have asserted that the boy’s religion and name were not a factor in the manner in which they approached the situation.



Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Ahmed Mohamed clock incident
  • Commons-logo.svg Ahmed Mohamed clock incident
  • Wikisource-logo.svg We Stand with Ahmed – and We Hope He’ll Join Us for Astronomy Night

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August 2, 2015

Local municipalities in Italy ask taxes from religious schools

Local municipalities in Italy ask taxes from religious schools

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Sunday, August 2, 2015

In the past few days in Italy, several municipalities have started asking religious schools to pay taxes for property and local services, despite the resistance of the Catholic Church.

Istituto Gonzaga, a catholic school in Milan.
Image: Friedrichstrasse.

The request of the municipalities results from the sentence of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation on July 8, recognising as legitimate the request of the Municipality of Livorno asking religious schools to pay property taxes.

Requests have come from the Municipality of Bogliasco, next to Genova, and from the deputies of Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) of the regional counsel of Lombardy. The first case is of the mayor Luca Pastorino that in last years received several refusals of his requests for payment because of the religious nursery school and retirement home. In the second case, the M5S party asks to the regional government to assure the local administrations of the region regularly apply the sentence of the Supreme Court.

The case on which the Court has ruled was of the religious schools Santo Spirito and Immacolata in Livorno, Tuscany, to pay over 422,000 euros in arrears for the period from 2004 to 2009. The request was advanced by the Municipality of Livorno in 2010.

The city reasoned, “because the users of the private schools pay a frequency fee, this kind of activity is considered as a commercial one”((it)).

In 2014 the Italian municipal tax discipline has changed from the ICI system to the IMU system by the Monti government. A mean cost per student criterion is used to tax only the schools that receive a fee higher than the mean cost per student fixed by the State. The new law is not retroactive, so the taxes requested in arrears from 2006 to 2009 are under the ICI system.

Minister of Education Stefania Giannini said a “more general reflection”((it)) is needed. Claudio De Vincenti, undersecretary to the prime minister, said “a discussion table will be opened with the non-profit associations, religious association included”((it)).

Undersecretary for Education Mr. Toccafondi says “many schools will increase their fees or they will quit. Then the State will have to find new resources to build new structures and manage them”((it)).

Also the president of the Lombardy region, Roberto Maroni, has reacted by proposing some regional counter-measures to finance private schools.

The secretary general of CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference), Nunzio Galantino, has called the sentence “dangerous”((it)) and “ideological”((it)): “We face a dangerous sentence. Who takes the decisions, do it with less ideology. Because I have the clear sensation that with this way of thinking, they wait the praise of some ideologized supporters. Indeed, they don’t understand what kind of good service private schools held”((it)).

Italian secularist associations are concerned the Government will modify the law in order to maintain an exception for religious schools. The secularist magazine MicroMega describe the court’s judgement as historic.

The Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR) has launched a petition which now has more than 11,000 signatures, asking the government to respect and execute the sentence of the Supreme Court. It is also encouraging citizens to ask for application of the law in their local municipalities.



Sources[]

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

July 31, 2015

The Italian Supreme Court states that the religious schools must pay taxes

The Italian Supreme Court states that the religious schools must pay taxes

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Istituto Gonzaga, a catholic school in Milan

On the 8th of July the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation has recognized as legitime the request of the Municipality of Livorno that also religious schools pay the taxes related to the ownership of the property and the services of the local municipality.

The case on which the Court has ruled was that of the religious schools Santo Spirito and Immacolata, that will have to pay 422.000 Euros for the arrears of the period from 2004 to 2009. The request was advanced by the Municipality of Livorno (Tuscany) in 2010.

The reason of the judge are based on the fact that “seen that the users of the private schools pay a frequency fee, this kind of activity is considered as a commercial one”.

Nevertheless in 2014 the Italian tax discipline over municipality service and private property has changed from the ICI system to IMU system, by the Monti government, under request of the European Union. A mean cost per student was introduced in order to tax only the schools that receive a fee higher than a the mean cost per student fixed by the State.

Anyway, the new tax discipline is not retroactive, so the municipality may ask the arrears for each of the ten years before the new law of 2014.

The reactions of the politicians and of the government[]

After the first reaction of the Minister of Education Stefania Giannini who said that a “more general reflection” is needed, the government has announced by undersecretary of the Prime minister Claudio De Vincenti that “a discussion table will be opened with the non-profit associations, religious association included”.

The undersecretary for the Education Mr. Toccafondi expects that “many schools will increase their fees or they will quit. Then the State will have to find new resources to build new structures and manage them”.

Also the President of Region Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, has reacted proposing some regional counter-measures to finance private schools.

The reactions of Catholic Church and secularist associations[]

The Secretary of CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference), Nunzio Galatino, has defined the sentence as dangerous and ideological: “We are in front of a dangerous sentence. Who takes the decisions, do it with less ideology. Because I have the clear sensation that with this way of thinking, they wait the praise of some ideologized supporters. Indeed, they don’t understand what kind of good service private schools held”.

At the same time, the Italian secularist associations fear that the Government will modify the law in order to persist with the exception for the religious schools. The secularist magazine MicroMega define the sentence as historic. It points out on the fact that the service offered by private confessional schools are religiously characterized, subjected to high fees and authorized to select their future students.

The association UAAR (Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics) has launched a petition that has already got 7.000 signatures, asking the government to respect and execute the sentence of the Supreme Court. It is also encouraging the citizens to ask to their mayors to apply the law on their territory.



Sources[]

Enrico Lenzi. “Scuole paritarie e tasse, le norme dimenticate” — l’Avvenire, July 29, 2015

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Local municipalities in Italy ask taxes to religious schools

Local municipalities in Italy ask taxes to religious schools

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Friday, July 31, 2015

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Istituto Gonzaga, a catholic school in Milan

In the past few days in Italy, several municipalities have started asking religious schools for paying taxes for property and local services, despite the resistence of the Catholic Church.

The request of the municipalities arrives as a result of the sentence of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation dating back to the 8th of July, that recognised as legitime the request of the Municipality of Livorno that was asking also to religious schools for paying the taxes related to the ownership of the property and the services of the local municipality.

The first requests arrive from the Municipality of Bogliasco, next to Genova, and from the deputies of Movimento 5 Stelle of the regional counseil of Lombardy. The first case is that of the mayor Luca Pastorino that in last years received several refusal for his requests payment due to the religious nursery school and retirement home. In the second case, the M5S party asks to the regional government to assure that the local administrations of the region regularly apply the sentence of the Supreme Court.

The sentence of the Court and its consequences[]

The case on which the Court has ruled was that of the religious schools Santo Spirito and Immacolata in Livorno (Tuscany), that will have to pay 422,000 Euros for the arrears of the period from 2004 to 2009. The request was advanced by the Municipality of Livorno in 2010.

The reason of the judge are based on the fact that “seen that the users of the private schools pay a frequency fee, this kind of activity is considered as a commercial one”.

Nevertheless in 2014 the Italian tax discipline over municipality service and private property has changed from the ICI system to IMU system, by the Monti government, under request of the European Union. A mean cost per student was introduced in order to tax only the schools that receive a fee higher than a the mean cost per student fixed by the State.

Anyway, the new tax discipline is not retroactive, so the municipality may ask the arrears for each of the ten years before the new law of 2014.

The reactions of the politicians and of the government[]

After the first reaction of the Minister of Education Stefania Giannini who said that a “more general reflection” is needed, the government has announced by undersecretary of the Prime minister Claudio De Vincenti that “a discussion table will be opened with the non-profit associations, religious association included”.

The undersecretary for the Education Mr. Toccafondi expects that “many schools will increase their fees or they will quit. Then the State will have to find new resources to build new structures and manage them”.

Also the President of Region Lombardy, Roberto Maroni, has reacted proposing some regional counter-measures to finance private schools.

The reactions of Catholic Church and secularist associations[]

The Secretary of CEI (Italian Episcopal Conference), Nunzio Galatino, has defined the sentence as dangerous and ideological: “We are in front of a dangerous sentence. Who takes the decisions, do it with less ideology. Because I have the clear sensation that with this way of thinking, they wait the praise of some ideologized supporters. Indeed, they don’t understand what kind of good service private schools held”.

At the same time, the Italian secularist associations fear that the Government will modify the law in order to persist with the exception for the religious schools. The secularist magazine MicroMega define the sentence as historic. It points out on the fact that the service offered by private confessional schools are religiously characterized, subjected to high fees and authorized to select their future students.

The association UAAR (Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics) has launched a petition that has already got 9,000 signatures, asking the government to respect and execute the sentence of the Supreme Court. It is also encouraging the citizens to ask to their mayors to apply the law on their territory.



Sources[]

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
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