Based in Saint-Cyprien, Gwénaëlle and Jérôme, parents of three, have been officially considered outlaws since Tuesday, October 25 due to their refusal to send their daughters to school in favor of home schooling.
Both come, as they explain, from the ranks of “republican school” and claim to have nothing against the “classical” school. Now based in Saint-Cyprien-sur-Dourdou, Gwénaëlle and Jérôme have been home-schooling since 2016, along with their daughter Manon, who has Down syndrome and is now 11 years old. The young girl nevertheless spent two years in school, in the first years of kindergarten, but her handicap soon caught up with her. “ We saw him less happy, we saw that he was not well in the evening “recalls Gwénaëlle, her mother, who explains that “ ritualized “ the school was not suitable for her daughter.
The law of “separatism” reshuffles the cards
“At that time, we didn’t even know what homeschooling was, and we weren’t motivated at all to put him in a medical-educational institute.”, she continues. To be able to legally teach them at home, Gwénaëlle and her husband Jérôme, until now, had to write a declaration sent to the academy and the municipality; In return, they undertook to undergo inspections by the municipality every two years and by the national education system every year.
The reactions from these institutions have been consistently positive and favorable opinions for the continuation of this practice.
Faced with the success of their educational approach with little Manon, her two younger sisters also fall in line and the parents, both employed and finding their benefit in homeschooling, pass the baton of running the school to the three children theirs.
Things have changed radically since the entry into force of the “separatism” law, whose real name is “The Law Confirming Respect for the Principles of the Republic”, in August 2021.
“Now the regime has changed and we have to ask for permission”, summarizes Jérôme. Interlocutor is the Academy of Toulouse, judged “too heavy” in this case, and the family is rejected.
Then an official notification letter from the Academic Director of the National Education Services of Aveyron arrives in their mailbox. This last act is the refusal of parents to send their children to school, who had informed and “give notice” register their children in a public or private institution within fifteen days.
Six months imprisonment and 7500 euro fine
For Gwénaëlle, Jérôme and their children, the ax fell on Tuesday, October 25, a date they have since been considered outlaws. He is sentenced to 6 months in prison and a 7500 euro fine. By their side in this adventure, the “Free Childhood” movement, which unites about twenty families in the same situation. And some of whom have chosen nomadism or a form of disappearance to escape this obligation that they consider unjust…
“Many try to go under the radar. We couldn’t have said anything when we arrived in Aveyron. We want a return to the declarative system because we won’t enroll them in school, that’s for sure.”Jerome says. “We’re not saying that home school is better or worse than home school. We used to have a choice, and we believe it’s important to keep it.”concludes the new father.
Contacted, Aveyron’s academic inspectorate was unable to comment on this file.