Two Amsterdam primary schools with predominantly ethnic minority pupils on Friday launch a campaign for more white children to attend, using provocative t-shirts.
The schools, one in the Rivierenbuurt and one in the trendy Pijp district, have decided to draw attention to their plight by ‘going white’ for the day. Pupils will wear t-shirts with the slogan ‘is this white enough for you?’ and parents and teachers will also wear white clothing, the Parool reports.
The schools are both facing closure because of falling pupil numbers and say their pupil population does not represent the make-up of their localities. If more white children sign up, the schools will be able to stay open and have a better mix of pupils.
Mirjam Leinders, of the Asko school board, says she recognises the campaign is controversial but that something has to be done.
‘The Avonturijn and the St Hoogdalen are both good schools but they are black schools in a mixed area, and that is odd,’ she told the Parool. ‘A school should reflect its neighbourhood.’
One mother told the Parool she had serious doubts about the campaign. ‘My stomach turned when I heard about it,’ Fatna El Guebli, who has three children at the school, told the paper. ‘Why do they need white children? We are all Dutch.’
Nevertheless, El Guebli said she too would wear white clothing on Friday. ‘This is a good school,’ she said. ‘I attended it myself.’
Amsterdam education alderman Simone Kukenheim said the council is aware of the problem but that the council itself will not take action against segregation. ‘Freedom of choice is very important,’ she said.
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