The Right of Freedom of Expression at School under Stress

When he finished visiting an exhibition on the life of Eva Perón in the town of Villa General Belgrano, a 16 year old High School pupil wrote in the Visitors’ Book that the exhibition had made him «feel sick.»

The organizers then got in touch with the School’s authorities saying that they were disgusted with what had happened and assessed the possibility of imposing a sanction on the pupil.

With its actions, Fundación LED Libertad de Expresión + Democracia (Freedom of Expression + Democracy) seeks to guarantee the basic right of freedom of expression while at the same time promoting any and all principles and values germane to a healthy democratic coexistence.

In that framework and given the events in the public domain, when a pupil in the town of Villa General Belgrano, in the Province of Córdoba, while attending an exhibition on the life of Eva Perón, spoke in a way which offended the organizers, which led, as a consequence, to assess the possibility of imposing a sanction on that pupil, our Foundation wishes to contribute to the debate that this circumstance opened up in society.

The fact that the possibility of expressing one’s ideas should not be subject to any type of restrictions is central, and although any forthcoming responsibilities should be assumed by the person expressing such ideas, our organization is against imposing sanctions on a young person who is in the process of acquiring civic education.

This type of attitudes not only has an adverse effect on the person in question but also on society at large—indeed, the message conveyed discourages the full exercise of the right of freedom of expression.

The expressions voiced, which may have offended a few, should not have been penalized but, rather, should have served as a catalyst in the debate, allowing the young and the institutions in question to expand and assert the democratic calling of all those involved.

Indeed, something cannot escape our analysis: the fact that the repercussion of an event in particular—such as this one—is closely linked to the climate of tension prevailing in our country as a consequence of trying to impose univocal visions of reality, as we have already pointed out from time to time.

It would be a big mistake to make young people bear the responsibility of open minded and respectful debates when the top authorities in the country convey messages of confrontation and despise anybody who thinks differently.

The sanction analyzed for the pupil in Córdoba falls within the same context as that of the three High School pupils in San Miguel de Tucumán who not long ago, in July, were confronted by the youth association La Cámpora when they demanded during a ceremony at their school, which was being attended by the Minister for Education of that Province, to be able to see the TV show Periodismo para Todos (Journalism for All) at their homes, a show which is not aired in the Province of Tucumán.

Fundación LED firmly believes that the only possible way of coexistence is an equitable, plural society based on unconditional respect of the democratic principles set forth in our body of laws. Our Foundation seeks to strengthen these principles and thus once again calls upon all citizens urging them to redouble their efforts and become actively involved in civic life.