Anti-values in “rainbow schools”
There is no shortage of schools on the map of Poland that can be described as “rainbow schools.” They boast of their support for pro-abortion protests, participate in actions promoting the LGBT movement, and disavow traditional values.
Although the phenomenon is not new, it has recently reminded us of itself through an “anti-nativity play” prepared by students of the Center for Vocational and Continuing Education (CVCE) in Gdansk. What was presented to the audience not only deviated from the traditional form of performances showing Christmas scenes, but was also at times an absurd leftist manifesto. The role of the Child was played by a half-naked boy, and the manger was to be symbolized by the wheelbarrow in which the Child was driven. Mary was played by a pink-haired schoolgirl. The Three Kings brought not myrrh, frankincense, and gold as gifts, but a keyboard, laptop, computer and mouse. The gift was also a voucher for the “500+” payment1. “Here you have this gift, which will blow the whole economy away and help manipulate the simpletons,” said the student handing it over. Internet portals suggest that he was playing the role of the Law and Justice Party president on stage. More careful observers claim that the stars constituting the decoration in the background were eight, signifying the well-known, plaintive slogan “f*** PiS.”
The mayor of Gdansk sees nothing inappropriate in mocking faith. “It is good to refer to the tradition of nativity plays. In our tradition there were very often various performances, speeches that also touched on current topics. I hope that in Poland this will always be possible – freedom of speech that did not violate anyone’s feelings, did not offend anyone. There were no vulgarities in these nativity plays,” Aleksandra Dulkiewicz stated. “The nativity play is also defended by one of the CVCE teachers, Beata Kuzniewska. “We have great young people, very artistic, ‘rainbow’, extremely creative, with a lot of imagination. For the most part, they are already adults. In addition, we are an inclusive school. This show by design was not meant to be a nativity play, but a Christmas performance. We were all proud of it, it never crossed anyone’s mind that it would cause such an uproar and, worst of all, such insults towards the youth,” she said in an interview with the Zawsze Pomorze (“Always Pomeranian”) outlet.
However, the Gdansk anti-nativity play is just a glaring example of a serious problem that has flooded Polish schools in recent years. It involves the replacement of values with anti-values and the reversal of principles, which happens not only with the approval, but also with the encouragement of the management and teaching staff (who sometimes actively join the protests themselves, including by supporting abortion). “Rainbow schools” promote the killing of the unborn, LGBT culture, and the pedagogy of shame. In short: they are fighting the “dark ages.”
In the fall of 2016, a wave of protests by abortion supporters swept through the country. This was a reaction to the Polish Parliament’s rejection of the draft proposal to liberalize the regulations on abortion. At the same time, the Polish Parliament was to vote on the civic project “Stop abortion.” Thousands of people took to the streets. On October 3rd of the same year, numerous demonstrations were held in various cities. At the time, the story of a physics teacher from Poznan gained particular attention and popularity. The said teacher allegedly urged students to participate in the abortion protests even at the expense of skiping class. The story was publicized by the Catholic media. “I interviewed students that have physics classes with this teacher. In one of them, there was indeed a conversation about the abortion protest – the students themselves initiated it. However, they did not confirm that they were encouraged to skip classes,” Leszek Bernaczyk, the director of the XIV High School, argued in an interview with Głos Wielkopolski, claiming that the media reporting on the incident were carrying out a “publicity stunt.” Some students also stood up in defense of the teacher. In the end, the Board of Education did not draw any consequences.
This was not the only case in which the teaching staff was clearly involved on the “dark” side of the ideological dispute. The media described the case of a group of female teachers from the Special School Complex in Zabrze, who came to work in dark clothes on October 3rd, as a sign of solidarity with the abortion protests. “During our lunch break, when the children were in the dining hall or in the care of the teachers on duty, they took a picture together. For this time, they attached stickers to their clothes with a sign informing them of the women’s abortion protest going on that day,” the local media reported. The principal of the school also posed for the photo. The disciplinary committee charged the female teachers with “publicly manifesting their views related to their support for the nationwide protest organized on that day regarding changes in abortion rights laws.” Ultimately, the women were not punished, and the case went quiet.
While every display of support for abortion found applause in the left-liberal media, the same portals and newspapers express (un)holy indignation when schools try to promote respect for life. This is what the OKO.press [a left-liberal outlet largely supported by George Soros, Ed.] website wrote about the “Help Save a Defenseless Life” contest, which the Polish Association of Defenders of Human Life has been organizing among students for years: “[…] We were surprised by the intrusively anti-abortion and ideologized overtones of the artwork sent in by students.” To better illustrate the unwarranted criticism, it is worth quoting a touching excerpt from one of the works awarded in the 18th edition of the competition. “I learned that my so long-awaited sister, if she would be born at all, according to my dad, has Down syndrome. A tear ran down my mother’s cheek. I will never forget those words. These emotions cannot be described in words. Dark despair, a million thoughts – very different thoughts. After a while, however, I understood what my mother was saying to me,” described Jakub from Stalowa Wola. OKO.press is outraged by the fact that in his story, the boy focused less on the difficulties of raising a child with Down syndrome and more on the joy of having a sister whom he loves very much. Outrageous, isn’t it? The pro-abortion media, of course, is conducting a smear campaign against the Ministry of Education and Science and its subordinate bodies for promoting such contests and projects.
In addition to abortion, an integral part of “education” in schools from under the rainbow flag is the promotion of LGBT ideology. There was even a ranking of the “Top 10 LGBT-friendly schools in 2022.” Five of them are Warsaw institutions, the others are located in Poznan, Lublin, Gdansk, Torun, and Olsztyn. The compilation, based on surveys collected among students, was prepared by the LGBTplusMe project, funded by Forbidden Colours in cooperation with the Brussels Capital Region. “The LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools Ranking is not just a social survey. It’s a tool to get you into a safe, open and tolerant high school.” – this is how the goal of the initiative is described.
One important aspect of getting ranked is encouraging students to participate in what is known as Rainbow Friday. Nineteen questions were posed to the students – among others, whether LGBTQ+ people can participate in school events “regardless of their psychosexual orientation, and how transgender and non-binary students are treated.:
The winner of the tolerance list, the XXXVIII Bilingual High School in Poznan (the city took the ranking under its patronage), was awarded the title of “Safe School.” “Respect and acceptance of others is one of the tenets that guide us at school. We want every child to feel comfortable and safe with us. I’m glad that the students share these values,” said Elzbieta Marciniak, director of the High School, while receiving the title.
In fifth place in the ranking was Warsaw’s Jacek Kuroń Multicultural High School for the Humanities, about which there was a lot of publicity due to, among other things, one of its history teachers. Anna Dzierzgowska, who also introduces herself as a “feminist activist and admirer of feminatives” became famous for her scandalous activity on social media. For a time, she framed her Facebook profile picture with the slogan “F*** you, abortion is here to stay” (in an uncensored version, of course). Those who expected the school administration to react to such behavior were left disappointed. It is worth mentioning that Dzierzgowska is an “equality trendsetter.” More than a decade ago, in 2011, she became the co-author of the guidebook “Equality preschool: how to make preschool education gender-sensitive.”
It seems that Kuroń High School even attracts these types of teachers – de-constructivists of traditional-patriotic thought. In February 2018, two teachers from the school wrote a letter to their students. The text, which was a response to the then-discussed amendment to the Institute of National Rememberance law (which, in its original form, called for a fine or imprisonment for attributing responsibility for the crimes of the Third Reich to the Polish nation), appeared in the French Liberation, among other publications.
“The ‘Polish nation’ and the institutions of the Polish state (as well as all other ‘nations’ and other states) are responsible for crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, and war crimes,” Sebastian Matuszewski and Piotr Laskowski stated. They further pointed out that “the Polish state during the War – in other words, the government-in-exile in London, until June 1942, refused to condemn the crimes against the Jews. This was met with silence in broadcasts on official radio and silence in the press of the Polish Underground State.” Matuszewski and Laskowski alleged that the country is closing the mouths of those citizens who feel the need to repent for alleged crimes committed by Poles during World War II. Delight in the letter was expressed by Gazeta Wyborcza [the founder of OKO.press, Ed.] which published the entire letter.
Of course, the Multicultural High School of Humanities is actively involved in the referenced “Rainbow Friday.” “We spent Rainbow Friday at Warsaw’s Jacek Kuroń High School. We were invited to speak about the situation of LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine and how we are trying to help those fleeing to Poland. It was terribly cool, a lot of information, because telling about Ukraine is never enough, questions and at the end the mandatory photo before entering!” – reported the Turmoil Foundation, which is dedicated to “supporting LGBTQ+ youth and queer activists,” in October.
“Rainbow Friday,” an initiative of the Campaign Against Homophobia, has spread to schools across the country. In 2019, it was so high-profile that the Onet.pl portal decided to cover it (it fell on October 25th) in a minute-by-minute format. The father of a student at one of the schools in Warsaw described the event in this way: “Each class has a chosen color. In one of them, all the children dressed in green, in another in red, and so on. My daughter was in an all-purple class. The school also provided T-shirts in the appropriate color if any child didn’t have clothes in their particular color.” The colors mirrored those on the rainbow flag, the symbol of the LGBT+ movement. To put it bluntly: children came to schools dressed in a color symbolizing a particular sexual preference, for example. Principals and teachers in many schools, as well as, apparently, some parents, saw nothing inappropriate in this. In addition to the attire on that day, some schools hosted so-called sex educators.
Bartlomiej Pielak, Deputy director of the 1st Social High School “Bednarska”, said that, “in the 21st century it is the duty of a democratic state to talk to young people about any topic, especially a topic that concerns minorities.” In an interview with Onet, he added, “I think that ‘Rainbow Friday’ is a good opportunity to talk about a rather important topic.” The campaign was supported by then ombudsman Adam Bodnar. “It is about showing respect to students who are measuring their identity. The school is also a place to promote values, tolerance, and acceptance,” Bodnar argued during a broadcast of Polsat News.
Students of Warsaw’s Jacek Kuroń High School gathered in front of the Ministry of Education and Science headquarters to protest “against the attitude of the Ministry of National Education, Minister Piontkowski, and the school superintendents” towards the “Rainbow Friday” celebrations (the ministry and the superintendents stressed that school is not a place to promote ideology, the action was also opposed by the Ombudsman for Children).
The director of the Economic School Complex in Kalisz Agnieszka Korotczuk decided that there would be no “Rainbow Friday” at her school, but she quickly repented in the pages of Gazeta Wyborcza. “In our school ‘Rainbow Friday’ did not take place. This was a mistake. I am now facing problems and receiving phone calls from various people because of this,” she informed.
Lodz authorities supported “Rainbow Friday” in an official way. In turn, at St. Mary Magdalene High School in Poznan, there was allegedly a spontaneous reaction by young people to the fact that a priest teaching there tore a rainbow poster off the bulletin board. “The kids pulled out the rainbow flags and darted all over the school in them,” the Stonewell Group reported enthusiastically. The whole situation was condemned by the director of “Marynka,” the oldest secondary school in Poznan.
It is worth noting that there were cities where, according to official information, none of the schools decided to take part in the action – such as Szczecin (although there were reports that students supported “Rainbow Friday” on their own, putting on rainbow pin-stripes, among other things) and Wroclaw.
The only correct route
Schools with a “rainbow” culture, in addition to abortion and the LGBT movement, also have slogans of democracy, equality, and openness on their banners. The denial of the Catholic faith while affirming the “world religion” is well seen. These institutions largely attract children raised in families with a liberal-left worldview. The lure is not only “neo-values,” but also innovative, non-standard teaching methods, most often focused on finding and developing individual potentials. While moving away from traditional methods may be a way to succeed, smuggling in issues unrelated to educational goals while doing so is a serious problem that needs to be addressed vociferously.
It’s a tricky issue, however, because young people attending “rainbow schools” are attracted to this style. The Facebook group of Kurosawa High School, run by students, is even overflowing with ideologically engaged content. A post addressed to former students begins with the words: “Hey student and alumni persons!” and ends with the phrase: “Member persons of the Alumni Initiative.”2 The profile also encouraged people to donate to the account of “Frank, who dreams of a mastectomy.” A photo report of a “walk in the footsteps of queer people” was met with great enthusiasm. In the comments under the posts, one can search in vain for any voice of opposition to the one and only right line. A similar attitude is displayed by the students of Lublin’s Paderewski High School, which was ranked second in the “LGBTQ+ friendliness” ranking described earlier. “I am proud that our school took second place. This reflects what kind of school we are. […] Everyone can feel safe here, be themselves,” says one student.
The Ministry of Education and Science can do little about it. “Through the educational administration in the field, we control whether the core curriculum is being implemented, and whether the rights of parents to have upbringing issues exclusively in their hands are being respected,” Deputy Minister Tomasz Rzymkowski tells Do Rzeczy. He points out that the instrument that strengthened the powers of the school superintendents were two new education law amendments vetoed by the President. “These provisions were intended to better safeguard parents’ constitutional right to education. The school has a supporting role in the upbringing process, it cannot conduct this upbringing against the parents,” explains Rzymkowski. “We are not arbiters of elegance, we are not concerned with whether something is pretty or ugly. Parents can protest, put pressure on the body that runs the school not to allow, for example, educators who are unwelcome there, against their will. The essence of the vetoed amendment was precisely so that parents would be informed of what is happening at school. We have knowledge in the Ministry that they are often surprised after the fact that a child has participated in some kind of event or talk,” he adds.
1 the 500+ program was initiated by the ruling party in 2015 to stimulate demographic growth by giving each family PLN 500 for each child every month until a given child turns 18. The program became a flagship product for the ruling party and simultaneously the object of intense criticism from the remaining parties stemming from the notion of promising cash handouts in exchange for votes in elections
2 Due to masculine and feminine conjugations in the Polish language the use of “LGBT-friendly” grammar is visible in a different manner compared to English
This article was published in February 2023 in “Do Rzeczy” magazine.