Parents In This Greek Town Are Vowing To Do Whatever It Takes To Keep Refugee Children Out Of Their Schools

Migrants and refugees hold a protest against the living conditions at the Oreokastro camp, near the northern town of Thessalo
Migrants and refugees hold a protest against the living conditions at the Oreokastro camp, near the northern town of Thessaloniki, Greece, on Saturday, June 25, 2016. More than 50,000 migrants remain stranded in Greece following European border closures and an agreement reached in March between the European Union and Turkey to deport newly arrived migrants traveling across the Aegean Sea. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

The statements issued by two parents associations in the town of Oreokastro this week, saying that they will not accept the migrant and refugee children living in the area into their schools, are making headlines -- which is not surprising.

In recent years, we have encountered similar anti-refugee incidents -- against our will, and at a great cost to our peace of mind.

A series of acts of intolerance have taken place across the country, such as attacks on refugees and migrants in refugee camps and vandalism at shelters. Storage spaces carrying clothes and supplies donated by people around the world have been set on fire -- all in an attempt to portray refugees as a threat to our civilization and as ruthless terrorists.

The amount of hate and darkness that has spread through our community, parliament and media would trick you into thinking we could not possibly sink any lower. This latest incident proves otherwise.

  These parents are so desperate to keep their children away from the refugees that they are willing to occupy school premises.

However, it's worth pointing out that there is still a part of society that is outraged by such outbreaks of ugliness and misanthropy -- and that's a good sign. It means that some of us are holding on to our humanity.

Looking at the announcement issued by the two parents and guardians' associations, one can't help but cringe. It's not for the obvious reasons, such the fact that despite being an "official document," it was not even written properly.

What's most cringe worthy is the document's tone: Curt and predicative. It suggests that it will not allow room for negotiation. There are no more than 50 words to communicate the decision -- the authors of the statement felt no need to justify the thought process that lead to it. They are essentially saying that they plan on getting their way, and that they will not compromise.

What they mistake for gumption is actually a lack of humanity and sensitivity.

But we must stop and ask a very important question. Do the concerned parents who unanimously decided this even get a say in the matter? Obviously not.

It doesn't matter if they made the decision unanimously, by a majority, or even if the vote was rigged. It is of no value. It does not concern nor influence anyone other than themselves and the company they keep, since their opinion was neither solicited nor will it be considered.

It's all well and good that parents and guardians' associations exist, but they do not enjoy the right to make decisions on such matters. It is as if I gathered 10 friends and said: "We do not like Trump as a possible president of the U.S., so we unanimously decide that starting tomorrow he should work as a street barker at Monastiraki market." Who cares?

Speaking to HuffPost Greece's Angeliki Kougiannou, the president of one of the two parents and guardians' associations, Fotini Kitsiou, argued that their main fear is that the (foreign) children are not vaccinated and could infect the other children (theirs).

This matter can be easily solved -- obviously. So they need to find another, more convincing excuse.

An ideal situation, according to Kitsiou, would be to offer the other (foreign) children a different facility, since, apart from all else, they do not share the same religion.

After all, the (foreign) children themselves would not feel comfortable with us, said the compassionate president. She pretends to be concerned that the children who survived war zones may feel uncomfortable in the school environment they're introduced to.

  They are so consumed with their collective insecurity that they are jeopardizing their own children's education.

It's plain to see that the goal of the two associations is to keep the refugees away.

The underlying narrative seems to be: We do not like them, they are not like us, and we do not want them near us. We want to believe that they're just passing through here, so we want nothing to do with them. They will leave the way they came.

I imagine the Greek parents who hold such attitudes were the same one who, 10 years ago, forbade their children from hanging out with young Albanians or inviting them to their birthday parties.

These parents are so desperate to keep their children away from the refugees that they are willing to occupy school premises, and thereby sacrifice even their own children's access to education.

They are so consumed with their collective insecurity that they are jeopardizing their own children's education.

All I can say is that the children at these two schools in Oreokastro are stuck with a sad bunch of parents.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Greece. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.