Pocketnarista deputies seek approval of a bill that amends the Penal Code and excludes from the crime of intellectual abandonment families that adopt home education. However, the maneuver takes place even though the modality has not been regulated by Congress.
The bill was put on the agenda at the CCJ (Constitution of Constitution and Justice) of the Chamber under the command of the president of the collegiate, Bia Kicis (PSL-DF). She is one of the authors of the text, along with deputies from the same party Chris Tonietto (RJ) and Caroline de Toni (SC).
This Tuesday (8), the parliamentarians started the debates on the subject in the commission, but around 4:20 pm the discussion was interrupted with the beginning of the agenda in the plenary. The discussion should resume on Wednesday (9).
Currently, home education has no legal support, as enrollment from 4 to 17 years old is mandatory. The STF (Supreme Federal Court) has already considered that the modality is not unconstitutional, as long as it is regulated by the Legislative.
The so-called homeschooling is a historical agenda of religious and conservative groups. The Jair Bolsonaro government elected the issue as the only priority for this year in the Legislature to, with its approval, give a nod to its base.
The project that deals with the alteration of the penal code was attached to the one that deals with the rules of homeschooling, reported by deputy Luísa Canziani (PTB-PR). But on March 22, Congresswoman Bia Kicis removed it from the complex to carry it out separately.
According to parliamentarians, this is a ploy by the Pocketnaristas to open the way for the offer of education outside the school without necessarily respecting the rules and obligations that are under discussion in the work performed by Canziani.
Aned (National Association of Home Education) was against, for example, the requirement that parents have diplomas to participate in the modality, as stated in the report.
The Bolsonaro government has attempted similar maneuvers to those of Bia Kicis. In May 2019, Minister Damares Alves (Women, Family and Human Rights) sent an official letter guiding guardianship councils not to consider cases of children and adolescents who study at home as school dropouts. The government ended up revoking the measure after questioning by the Federal Public Ministry.
At the end of last year, minister Milton Ribeiro’s team (Education) tried to create a captive chair for home education at the National Education Forum, the main instance of articulation between the ministry and civil society. Without even having regulation, the government was defeated in the undertaking.
Parliamentarians and experts who follow the topic heard by the article say that it is possible that Kicis’ text will pass through the CCJ, but that the chance of his reaching the plenary before the project that actually regulates this offer is remote. Deputy Canziani’s report is expected to reach the plenary next week.
The project of the Pocketnaristas deputies wants to change article 246 of the Penal Code. The text says that anyone who “fails, without just cause, to provide primary education for a child of school age” is guilty of intellectual abandonment. The penalty provided is detention from 15 days to 1 month, or a fine.
“Early parents who teach their children, parents who take the lead in their children’s education, have been treated by some state agents as real criminals, running the risk of losing custody of their children, of paying a fine, of being harassed,” he said. Bia Kicis on the commission this Tuesday.
Deputy Gleisi Hoffmann (PT-PR) stated that there is a problem with the characterization of the matter. “We have not regulated what home education is,” he says.
“If we change the Penal Code, we could be enabling those parents who don’t care about their children to justify dropping out of school or also benefit opportunistically from this change so as not to justify concern and care for their children and education.”
The project report that will regulate home education in Brazil provides for some controls, such as the obligation to follow the national curriculum, higher education for parents, annual assessments and the possibility of loss of rights in case of failure.
There is an agreement for the text to be voted directly in the plenary, without going through the House Education committee — where the debates could be deepened.