Eötvös Károly Policy Institute maintains that parents have the right for both decisions: they can choose to protest by staying at home or send their children to school, even if they agree with the aims of the protest. The act of staying at home or going to school is a form of expressing political opinion, which is under the protection of constitutional rights.
At the same time, not only Hungarian legislation but also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates that children, young and old, are entitled to the right to express their opinion in issues that concern them, especially in connection with their education. It is the parents’ and teachers’ responsibility to provide the correct and sufficient amount of information, in line with children’s maturity, to enable them to make a decision. Thus, children cannot be denied the right to protest against the public education conditions.
The decision whether the children should go to school on 29th February or not is to be based on mutual discussion. The parents should listen even to young children’s opinion before they decide and they certainly act appropriately if they do not decide against their older children’s expressed choice.
Published in Élet és Irodalom on 6 January 2017.