Sweden Democrats decry secular school song
Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 4 Jun 2010, 13:20
Published: 04 Jun 2010 13:20 GMT+02:00
"The last day of school celebrations are an important part of Swedish cultural heritage and we thus argue that the country's schools should be required to arrange celebrations in church," said Erik Almqvist at the Sweden Democrats to The Local on Friday.
Almqvist said that while the proposal is intended to give parents and children the right to demand a church service and the singing of Christian psalms, it is not a religious matter and has to do with Swedish tradition.
The party decries the trend in recent years for Swedish schools to offer a broader range of end of term services, many of which it complains are not held in churches.
The Sweden Democrats argue that "many children and parents" are disappointed by being obliged to sing traditional, and more contemporary, songs in the open air or in school premises, but underlined that there are no plans to force children to participate.
"We argue that schools, either alone or together with nearby schools should be obliged to try to also arrange a traditional end of term later the same day if at least ten percent of pupils and their parents express a wish," said party leader Jimmie Åkesson in a statement on Friday.
The Local asked Erik Almqvist if the right, which the party would consider incorporating into school guidelines or Swedish law, would be extended to children and parents of other faiths.
"Yes of course, they can also go to church," he said, while ruling out that traditional Swedish end of term sing-songs could be extended to other places of worship, such as the mosque or the synagogue.