Folkeskolen wants a solution for children on an asylum ship, which, according to the mayor, must seriously depart on March 1

Do not take the children off the asylum ship in Velsen-Noord from De Fakkel primary school in Heemskerk for the time being. That’s what director Lyke Series says, now that the ship’s departure date is in sight. The children also need to quickly know where they are going to live, she says. It will definitely not be on the ship, repeated Mayor Dales van Velsen today.

Silja Europe arrives in Velsen-Noord – Jasper Leegwater / NH News

Series stands up for the children’s interests with its appeal. “Because the children keep moving, their learning process starts again and again and is unnecessarily delayed. In addition, the structural uncertainty about whereabouts creates an obstacle to properly absorb the lesson material,” says the elementary school leader.

Even more moves to new reception centers will undo good work, she believes. “The children at our school are doing really well. They have completed their landing period well and are well into processing the material. They have connected with the students, the staff and the school and they feel safe and seen.”

An easy way to solve the problem would be to leave the asylum ship longer in Velsen-Noord. But the local politicians don’t care about that at all for the time being.

‘1. March, then the ship will leave. Is the door not ajar? That door is closed to me’

Mayor Frank Dales van Velsen

It would therefore be a controversial decision. Before the ship’s arrival there was one protest marchand people wondered, “why always here?’ As a concession, Mayor Frank Dales promised from the start: The end date of March 1 will not be changed.

Even today, he has not deviated from that position. Dales: “I have been reliable for the government, which needed emergency shelter. Now I am reliable for the residents of Velsen. The agreement is March 1, then the ship must leave. Isn’t the door ajar? That door is somewhat closed as what I concerns.”

Hats off

This position can count on the approval of other local representatives. Leo Aardenburg, florist in Velsen-Noord, but also municipal council member on behalf of LGV, says to ‘take off his hat’ to the mayor.

Aardenburg: “Did Dales say that? It’s not that bad. I’m hearing all sorts of noises that everything is being tried to keep the ship here longer because it’s going so well. That’s the picture being painted in the media Dales is now committed to fulfill the agreement or he is no longer trustworthy at all. I don’t want to sit in the council chamber with Pinocchio.”

“The ship can only stay if there is strong evidence from the community that the inhabitants want it”

Cees Sintenie, CDA Velsen

And other parties are not interested in a longer stay either. PvdA leader Ahmet Karateke: “I assume that the government will come up with other solutions after March 1. But we must never lose sight of the humane aspect of children and their parents.”

For CDA’s parliamentary party chairman Cees Sintenie, the asylum seekers’ stay can only last longer, ‘if it is very strongly expressed by society that the residents want the ship to stay.’

Sintenie: “The idea of ​​leaving the asylum ship in Velsen-Noord for a longer period of time absolutely cannot come from politics. Velsen’s trust in politics is already not great. If the ship stays behind after March 1, we are truly unreliable.”

Regardless of what happens, as long as there is a place for the children and their families, elementary school manager Seriese emphasizes: “For development and well-being, it is necessary to offer these children who now live on the ship a place where they can continue to follow education until they transfer to a regular public school.”

There is no new asylum law yet

The asylum ship has been a temporary emergency shelter since September last year. It was intended that, in the meantime, other reception areas should be created in municipalities throughout the Netherlands, so that reception on the ship was no longer necessary. But the new asylum law, which is supposed to ensure this, is not yet in place.

The Council of State must give advice, and then the law must still be passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate. Only then can the government force all municipalities in the Netherlands to accept asylum seekers.

“If all parties want it, it can go quickly,” says the spokesman for State Secretary Eric van der Burg. It is about asylum seekers.

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