The representative of Fratelli d’Italia sent a letter to school administrators inviting principals and teachers to “enhance within their own school every Christmas-related initiative, with the preparation of nativity scenes and the performance of recitals or songs related to the theme of the Nativity”.
Her quite sensible message – given the cases of “censorship” of traditions in recent years – have however resulted in a flood of criticism. This letter was enough to put the opposition in the Regional Council on a war footing: “First the crucifix in the classroom, now the crib in every school. Not only does the right use Christ as a Barbie good for all seasons and it uses interior decoration for politics, but now it also moves away from its own competences and meddles in the autonomy of schools with a top-down view from an Ethical State.
“Many families have remained excluded from the meal voucher, need a law that guarantees the right to the school canteen and lack resources for transport and textbooks, but instead of engaging in the proposals that we have deposited in the classroom on the Budget law, the right continues to play as if we were already immersed in the Christmas holidays,” Marco Grimaldi, a leftist councilor from LUV complained.
An attack also came from the Italian radicals, with Igor Boni who put the councilor Chiorino in the crosshairs:” We are facing a council which uses the institutions for purposes of propaganda and nothing else. Speaking of school, I give the assessor a zero on secularism. These lines written to the principals are paired with those who use rosaries and crucifixes brandishing them as political weapons. I hope that the Piedmontese schools will throw this letter into the rubbish bin.”
The controversy also reached the Undersecretary of Education, Lucia Azzolina: “The letter with which the Councilor for Education of the Piedmont Region, Elena Chiorino, addresses the schools, asking school administrators to put in place initiatives to enhance Christmas, it is a real invasion of the sphere, and violates school autonomy.
Nothing against Christmas, of course, or against the initiatives that the educational institutions already organize in relation to this holiday every year. But nobody has to make propaganda on the back of schools. To meddle in our education system by asking teachers and managers to do or not do this or that, giving unilateral directions on how to enhance our national identity.”
In short, a request to respect the traditions and values that have accompanied Western culture and education for centuries, has become an “invasion” of the public sphere.