Polish politician suggests LGBTQ-friendly schools are staffed by ‘paedophiles’

Mikołaj Pawlak

Poland’s commissioner for children’s rights protection has demanded inspections of the country’s LGBTQ-friendly schools to seek out so-called “criminals and paedophiles”.

Mikołaj Pawlak’s call for inspections follows the findings of the fifth LGBTQ+ Youth Friendly Schools Ranking, supported the European Commission, being published on 10 May.

This year’s report placed the Collegium Gedanense high school in Gdańsk, Poland, at the top of the most inclusive schools in the country, as rated by its students.

On the day of the report’s release, Pawlak commented on the research, calling it a “report on a ranking of pseudo-rainbow-friendly schools”. 

He called for an inspection of 10 to 20 schools to begin in May, adding that there are “there are allegedly 2,000 [such] schools”.

In an interview for Gazeta Polska Codziennie, Pawlak said: “Unfortunately, in many cases, it turns out that principals or other institutions do not check their employees against the register of paedophiles.

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“We must protect children from criminals and such verification is one of the important tools that should be used.”

Coordinator of the LGBTQ + Youth Friendly Schools Ranking, Dominik Kuc, told TVN24 News the LGBTQ+ Youth Friendly Schools Ranking is based on the votes of students. 

The LGBTQ+ activist from Warsaw condemned Pawlak’s lack of support for the report, adding: “For us, this is intimidation of students, teachers and, above all, principals, who put a lot of effort into building a safe and open atmosphere for everyone.”

A legal guide will be published by Kuc on Friday (26 May) to aid schools that will be subjected to inspection. 

LGBTQ+ activist Robert Biedroń also called out Pawlak’s order for inclusive schools to be inspected, referencing the tragic death of an eight-year-old child at the hands of his stepfather.

“Ah, that’s why he didn’t have time to work on improving the system for preventing domestic child abuse,” Biedroń wrote on Twitter.

The LGBTQ + Youth Friendly Schools Ranking was initiated by Kuc in 2018 with the aim of allowing students in Europe to choose “open and tolerant” schools. 

Pawlak’s anti-LGBTQ+ comments follow him refusing to back down after a fact checker debunked his wild claim that teachers are “stuffing [children] with drugs” to change their gender in 2020. 

Following this claim, a petition was launched calling for his resignation and accusing him of “constantly discrediting one of the most important offices in the Republic of Poland”.

In 2019, more than 100 municipalities in Poland declared themselves LGBT-free zones, which have been documented in an ‘Atlas of Hate’ map created by activists.

In a bid to penalise Poland’s growing anti-LGBTQ+ stance, the European Commission confirmed in May that anti-LGBTQ+ zones in Poland can “kiss their EU funding goodbye” if they continue to enforce discrimination.

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