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Belgium shelves plan to runschools for troublemakers

Published on 31/08/2004

31 August 2004

BRUSSELS – Plans to create separate schools for problem pupils in Belgium have been put on the backburner over fears that they would become “ghettos,” it was reported on Tuesday.

Marie Arena, the new education Minster for the French-speaking community, has blocked the controversial proposal which was mooted by her predecessor Pierre Hazette in 2002, said Le Soir.

Hazette wanted to create four schools to take violent and disruptive pupils away from the mainstream school system.

The schools were scheduled to be opened in Wallonia and Brussels this autumn.

The plan had been accepted by the main political parties, although the Greens and Socialists only gave their consent on the condition that a 30-strong mobile prevention unit would be created at the same time.

These agents would intervene in schools that were suffering problems from particular pupils.

Speaking at her traditional media interview as schools return after the summer, Arena said she wanted to concentrate on these preventative measures before building special schools.

“These centres would become ghettos,” she warned. “It would be like a prison: children would enter with one gram of marijuana and come out with coke or addresses to supply it to.”

According to Arena, the prevention squads should first be given the chance to deliver results before any further action is taken.

The 46 observers currently present in Belgian secondary schools say they have seen their results double in the space of four years.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news