Antwerp: Sinterklaas may wear cross

Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) may have a cross on his clothing when he shows up in Antwerp city schools. General manager of the Antwerp school system, Frank Noten, said this during a debate on the Antwerp regional TV broadcaster ATV.

There was a commotion in the schools this week since Antwerp issued a directive forbidding the Saint from wearing religious symbols. The principle of the directive will be maintained, according to Noten, but it will be possible within the autonomy of the schools.

Noten nuanced during that debate that this was a general directive forbidding religious symbols. He did explain that the municipal school system will continue to strive for neutrality in order to ensure that everybody can study, regardless of religion.

According to the manger the entire issue is a difficult exercise in balance. Indeed the question was posed whether it was possible to have the baby Jesus in a manager under the Christmas tree in class.

Commentator Luc Van der Kelen called the fuss ideological absurdity. He also condemned the fact that the Antwerp councilor in charge of education did not participate in the debate. Frank Noten decided that the Saint may have crosses on his mitre, but that explaining the symbols belongs to the religion class.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

Robert Voorhamme, Antwerp alderman for education, also featured in these stories:
* Antwerp: Halal school trips (and Halal vs. Kosher)
* Antwerp: Possible ban on headscarf for teachers
* Antwerp: Schools forbid Muslim veil
* Antwerp: Teaching Arabic in schools

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maya Detiège, also from the flemisch socialist party in Antwerp
stated as excuse that Sinterklaas may not have existed so as to stop all city activity around the Saint there.