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If the open school is the cradle of democracy

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Yet another misstep to then go back? Will the drive to reopen the School despite the surge in infections be doomed to be shipwrecked once again? But why right now, in full fourth wave? Wouldn’t it be better to extend its closure, as some governors have autonomously decided to do? Since the beginning of the pandemic, the problem of closing and opening the school has persistently re-emerged. Three brief considerations on the occasion of this umpteenth restart. The first concerns the problem of safety: we have learned that the School as such is by no means the elective place for the transmission of the infection. Exactly the opposite: the surveillance of students and compliance with safety measures inside a regulated container makes it one of the safest places. The second consideration concerns the new generations: our children demand with increasing (and legitimate) intolerance to return to live in full freedom. For this reason there are no no vaxes among the younger generations, if not in a very limited percentage and mostly conditioned by the decisions of their parents. But why aren’t there no vaxes among young people? Because there is no culture of suspicion, of conspiracy, because there is no fear of life, or, if it exists, this fear is not sufficient to curb the drive to life.

Adolescents are not afraid of the vaccine at all because they fear the actual restrictions of freedom caused by their eventual refusal much more than the vaccine. The third consideration concerns the School in the strict sense: the opening of the School is increasingly necessary in a country like ours which has proved to be culturally backward, ideologically superstitious in these difficult times, still traversed by a stubborn populist rhetoric. The existence of no vax teachers is, from this point of view, an absolute contradiction in terms. We have had a recent proof of this in that aberration connected with the use of the initials of the National Liberation Committee, historically linked to the great season of the partisan resistance against the Nazi-fascist occupation, to define the political and cultural reasons of the no vax movement. The extinction of the feeling of shame in political life is long overdue but it always makes an impression when the irresponsible use of categories affecting our collective memory occurs so abruptly and boldly, without the slightest care for the people who gave the life for those ideals. This is a horror that only the cultural life of the School can stop.

Therefore, it is necessary to reopen the school, to go back to studying, to drive away the monsters, to generate an authentically democratic culture. It is probably a much bigger emergency, if I may be allowed, than that of the health emergency. Without a school worthy of the name, a town cancels its identity. Not only. We know how much the culture of hatred always makes its necessary appearance in times of greatest crisis and bewilderment. It is necessary but not sufficient to respond to this culture with a culture of dialogue and tolerance. A culture of dialogue and tolerance that renounced taking responsibly decisions that put an end to dialogue and tolerance in order to mark irreconcilable differences would contradict itself. It is the spirit of our times. It also happens in families where the rhetoric of dialogue offers parents an excuse not to make decisions that could make them less lovable in the eyes of their children. It takes a school that works to explain that freedom is something more than an individual right, that without the thought of the community there is no collective life possible. Those who claim the right to their individual freedom as an absolute right, without constraints, should go back to school, they should go back to studying. The community life of the School teaches, even more than on the cultural level, that no one can ignore the regulations that order its life. We are not dealing here so much with authoritarian devices but with the fundamental training ground of democracy. We reopen the school to teach our children that democracy implies the existence of a common good that cannot ignore the responsibility of each one.

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