Home > Public space > Spain > 2010-01-14 - Superior Court of Justice of Valladolid, n. 2789/2008

2010-01-14 - Superior Court of Justice of Valladolid, n. 2789/2008

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Conscientious objection to the school subject of Education for Citizenship

Key facts of the case - Appeal against the decision of the Department of Education whereby the request for conscientious objection against the subjects of Education for Citizenship (Educación para la ciudadanía), submitted by the appellants in the name and on behalf of their daughter, is dismissed. The appellants alleged in their request that the moral and ideological content of the aforementioned subjects may not be taught in school.
The appellants request to be acknowledged a right to object on grounds of conscience to Education for Citizenship on the basis of Articles 16 and 30.2 of the Spanish Constitution (hereinafter CE).
The local authorities deny the alleged conscientious objection in matters of education, since Article 16 CE may not be generally invoked against general duties established by law. They also reject the claim that Education for Citizenship seeks adherence to its values and contents. On the contrary they are only intended to be taught. Finally, they also allege the lack of legal standing of the appellants.
The Attorneys’ Office and the State Lawyer support the appealed decision of the local authorities.

Main reasoning of the Court - The Court upholds the appeal. The basis and reasons for conscientious objection are the new contents of the legal provisions (reglamentos) developing the Spanish Education Act (Ley Orgánica de Educación).
The Court deems that Education for Citizenship includes moral and ideological content which may not be taught in school to those who truly disagree with it, and, consequently, states that there is an intent to intervene in the formation of the family that entails a potential conceptual abuse in the legal development of this school subject, both in its content – some of which has a doubtful constitutional basis – and in its evaluation criteria, since the latter depends on the adherence to the imparted values and principles.
Parents have the right to choose for their children the religious and moral instruction which is in accordance with their own religious beliefs. The right to education, guaranteed in Article 27 of the Spanish Constitution, is a protection right which must be made effective through the only viable mechanism of conscientious objection, exemption or leave. This mechanism must be granted pursuant to the direct order set forth in Article 9.2 CE to safeguard the Constitution and to remove any obstacles which impair or hinder its effectiveness.

Comment - The Court criticises the layout of Education for Citizenship since evaluation depends on adherence to the aptitudes, attitudes, skills and abilities included in the school textbooks.