By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After heated discussions among Congressional representatives and between lawmakers and protesters, the Chamber of Deputies’ special committee created to discuss the project Escola Sem Partido (schools without political parties) was once again suspended in Brasilia on Tuesday.
At one point during the opening discussions of the bill, the rapporteur of the bill, known just as Flavinho, called fellow congresswoman, Erika Kokay, a liar.
“Do not be deceitful and a liar. Does the project criminalize teachers? Do not be a liar!” Flavinho shouted after Kokay had spoken out against the project.
According to Kokay the project is ‘clearly LGBT-phobic, extremely sexist and visibly indoctrinating’ turning teachers into enemies of the education system.
“I never imagined that I would live in a period where a teacher could be considered an enemy of the nation. A nation that supervises teachers, monitors (teachers), puts teachers under suspicion, (and) encourages students to denounce teachers,” she said.
After the shouting match between the two lawmakers, protesters sitting in the galleries also started to yell and the session was cancelled.
According to the bill all schools should disseminate posters stating clearly teachers’ duties when in a classroom. The bill prohibits teachers from using their position to influence students politically and/or ideologically.
The teacher is also prohibited from encouraging students to participate in demonstrations and should indicate the main theories on political, socio-cultural and economic issues, giving priority to family values over those of school education in aspects related to moral, sexual and religious education.
Supporters of the bill say that teachers and authors of teaching materials have been using their classes to try to get students to follow certain political and ideological currents.
Critics on the other hand say that current laws already prevent any kind of abuse on the part of teachers and that the bill such will generate insecurity in classrooms and persecution of teachers.