“There is nothing more horrible than feeling singled out for doing nothing”

Cristina Rubio

Clash over 25% of Castilian at the gates of the Turó del Drac school while the Govern abandons the family harassed because of the Spanish language

Two scenes sum up the linguistic conflict uncovered at the Turó del Drac school in Canet de Mar after the campaign to harass a family for demanding 25% Spanish for their 5-year-old son: a graffiti with a clear warning in red at the entrance of the school – “In Canet we want classes in Catalan” – and the fact that an Education Councillor of the Government and the mayoress of the town, from ERC, had an emergency meeting with the school management to close ranks and plan what to do. The Generalitat made its position clear yesterday by abandoning the harassed family and encouraging the pro-independence protests that will take place this afternoon in the town against teaching more Castilian.

Meanwhile, the families staged the existing division at the doors of the centre, with conflicting opinions after the political and social storm unleashed and just the day that the school, reluctantly, applied 25% of Spanish in the child’s class by order of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC), which ruled in favour of the family two months ago, in October. Specifically, the pupils in only one Turó del Drac group will receive, as of Thursday, six and a half hours a week of education in Spanish dedicated to visual arts, plastic arts and psychomotor skills. The rest, 75% of the teaching time, will continue to be in Catalan.

However, and despite the fact that it continues to be a minimal and unequal percentage, the case has leapt from the courts to the media after a strong campaign of harassment of the child by radical pro-independence supporters – they have requested through social networks from making him empty and leaving him alone in class to throwing stones at him at home, both in the networks and in a WhatsApp group – which has led the affected family to request judicial protection and the AEB to file a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Also because of its coincidence with the Supreme Court’s endorsement of the TSJC’s historic ruling ordering the application of 25% Spanish in the entire education system, a framework that the pro-independence movement is using to stir up the debate once again and stir up the streets in favour of a common cause: Catalan.

And the case of Canet – a private lawsuit outside the framework ruling of the TSJC – has served as a spearhead for this, with the Government at the forefront. Yesterday, and after the aforementioned meeting with the school’s management and families, the Education Councillor tiptoed around the campaign against the family of 25% -he did condemn in general any kind of violence or harassment-, endorsed the protests against giving more Spanish in the classrooms – “We are the democratic ones and, therefore, that each one expresses his or her own opinion, Therefore, let everyone express themselves and demonstrate in the way they see fit”, he said. He called the court ruling an “intolerable attack” on the Catalan linguistic model, and even refused to answer the press in Spanish as a gesture in defence of Catalan. “Today is the day to subtitle it”, he boasted after his speech.

The Canet case has uncovered the linguistic conflict in Catalonia, with all the spotlight now focused on the Turó del Drac. “There is nothing more horrible than feeling singled out for doing nothing” , cried a mother and local resident outside the school, which has been the centre of attention since early morning. “I think it’s a shame, I’m not going to politicise the issue, what I think is shameful is what happened afterwards, that reprisals were taken against them. I don’t care about the rest”, he added about the affected family.

A different opinion to that of other families, also present at the school yesterday. This is the case of a teacher from the UAB: “Immersion works perfectly, people is being manipulated”. “It doesn’t make any sense, it is an obligation. We have to ask ourselves whether a single individual can force the rest to do something that is socially consensual”, he summed up the specific case of the P5 child. Reprisals? It’s a rhetorical game”, he responded when asked about the harassment campaign.

Two voices that stage the clash and confrontation in Canet, a town that today will experience a new episode of tension in the street with the aforementioned protest in the outskirts of the centre called by the Sindicat d’Estudiants dels Països Catalans (SEPC) in defence of immersion. The school’s parent’s association has gone so far as to explicitly request that it be moved away from the school gates and from dismissal time so as not to expose the children.


This post was translated from:

Rubio, C. (2021) ‘“No hay nada más horrible que sentirse señalado por no hacer nada”’, La Razón, Madrid, 10 December. Available at: https://www.larazon.es/cataluna/20211210/zbolbfr3zzgv5o5iu7klrwcitq.html (Accessed: 13 December 2021).

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