ITALY: Separate school buses for traveller children proposed

[ROMA, 12 January 2008] – A town council in a district in Rome has passed a motion to separate children from traveller families from other children on school buses following reported clashes in the last few days.

The motion was passed with the votes of the Communist Refoundation party, the Democratic Left and the centre right parties, while the Democratic Party, the most powerful member of the coalition, voted against the motion.

The events unfolded in Rome’s 7th District, a traditional communist stronghold in the Italian capital which encompasses the working class areas of Centocelle, Prenestino Quarticciolo, Alessandrino and la Rustica.

‘I thought we were in the era of inclusion, not exclusion. We cannot return to the times of Rosa Louise Park’, said councillor Maria Coscia, from the Democratic Party.

Rosa Louise Park was an American activist (1913 – 2005) who became a symbol of the civil rights movement after refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person in 1955.

The head of the town council from the Democratic Party in Rome’s town council, Pino Bataglia, urged the Communist Refoundation and the Democratic Left to back down, saying that the vote ‘is not only deeply incoherent, but also a worrying sign of confusion about the fundamental values that unite us’.

Bataglia strongly rejected discrimination against children.

The motion was presented after a group of parents demanded the separation in buses after a recent fight.

According to the parents, the children from traveller families behaved ‘too forcefully’ and the two adults accompanying the children could not calm them down.

Following the outbreak, they requested a return to the old days when schoolchildren from traveller families went to school in a different bus to other children.

Further information

Association: Translated by CRIN

Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.