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Protecting Parental Rights in Portugal


Topic | Parental Rights

As a mother I want to shield my children from being exposed to unsuitable graphic and controversial ideological material. My older children were allowed to sit out the sex-ed classes, but now the state wants to force my youngest to repeat two whole school years even though the school had agreed they did not have to take the classes,” says Ana Guimares. 

ADF International Allied lawyers are supporting the Guimares family to protect parental rights in Portugal and set a positive precedent for Europe. 

The Guimares family


Advocacy Team:
Lorcán Price

"Clearly, the state is not acting in Tiago and Rafael’s best interest when it’s trying to force them to be set back and repeat two whole school years. Parents and children should not be punished for wishing not to be exposed to ideologically charged material."

Case Summary

As a mother, Ana Paula Guimares was concerned about the graphic and ideological content that was being taught in the sex-education classes of her children’s school. Thankfully, the public school in Porto agreed to exempt her two youngest sons, Tiago and Rafael, from the classes, as they had previously done for Ana’s older children. Because these arrangements had worked for years, Ana thought the matter resolved, until a new curriculum was introduced that made the controversial content part of the compulsory “citizenship classes” that her children were required to attend in order to graduate from each school year.  

To Ana’s dismay, the Ministry of Education took issue with the arrangement in 2020 and ordered that the boys be held back by 2 full years, just to repeat the classes. Because this was such a disproportional demand, Ana and her husband Arthur were successful in appealing this decision in early 2021. The first instance court ordered that the boys could continue their education without having to attend these classes. But the Ministry of Education didn’t leave it at that. It fought the first court’s decision until the second instance court overturned it.  

To keep their sons from being held back, Ana and Arthur Guimares sought and were granted an injunction, which is currently in place restraining the state from forcing the children from their current year until the case is determined. The Guimares family, continue to seek justice, hoping that the Supreme Administrative Court will decide in their favour as they appeal the second court’s unfavourable decision in spring 2022.  

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