The controversial decision of the Education Ministry that the parade flag bearer for each class will be decided by draw proved to be acceptable, as there were no reactions for the students selected for the October 28 parade in about 6,000 classes across Greece.
Until now, the sixth grade student carrying the flag in the parade was the student with the highest grade in their class. But according to a new bill by Education Minister Costas Gavroglou in the summer, the student to bear the flag in the parades of March 25 and October 28 would be decided by draw.
When the bill was tabled in Greek parliament it was met with fierce reactions from opposition parties, especially conservative New Democracy. The argument was that carrying the flag is an honor and students struggle to be the best in order to bear the flag. Furthermore, opposition parties argued that only students with Greek nationality should qualify to bear the national symbol.
The argument of the leftist government was that each student, regardless of grades or ethnicity, should have the opportunity to bear the flag.
However, when the new system applied in schools across Greece, there were no reactions overall. In two schools only, in Achaia and Kozani, parents disagreed with the draw and created a stir.
In Kozani, the draw favored a student from Albania and several parents reacted to his origins, while saying that the student’s performance in school is mediocre. Parents said they will not allow their children to participate in the upcoming October 28 parade.
Also, in Western Achaia, there were protests because the flag bearer that was drawn has Greek citizenship but hails from Albania and has asked to be exempt from religion classes.