A decision to name a school after the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who some call an enemy of public schooling, is causing widespread anger in Spain. This after a similar attempt to name a street after her failed in April.
Authorities in Madrid recently gave the green light for the creation of a new, bilingual public school in that city, to be named after the former British prime minister, Thatcher.
The school will be situated in the city's Barajas district and is set to open its doors in the next academic year with space for 75 pupils.
Spokesperson for Madrid's ruling Popular Party (PP) government, Salvador Victoria, made the announcement of the naming decision on Thursday. Victoria said that the new school will be one of two new institutions, built as part of a wider restructuring program.
However, Spanish daily 20 Minutos reported on Friday that the naming of the school has caused some anger.
José Luis Pazos, spokesperson for the local Federation of Parents Associations (FAPA), told The Local:
"Last year they (the Community of Madrid) changed the laws so they would have the final say in the naming of colleges."
"Before that the individual school councils chose their names, with input from staff, and parents and students."
"Now the regional government has the final say, and there are no limits on the names they use. It's all ideologically based."
"My organization doesn't have a personal position on what names they use."
"But we do object to individual schools not be able to choose what they are called."
Surprise at the plan to name a school after the late Thatcher resonated in Twitter too.
Twitter user @DyBuenaletra tweeted:
"DespacitoyBuenaletra @DyBuenaletra 21 Jun
Madrid bautiza a un colegio público como "Margaret Thatcher", la enemiga de la escuela pública. Viva la coherencia."
Or in English: "Madrid baptizing a public school with the name Margaret Thatcher, the enemy of public schooling. Long live coherency."
Another Twitter user Alonso said, "A public school with the name of Thatcher. NONSENSE."
The United Left (IU) politician Alberto Garzón sent his own tweet: "These are the same people who refuse to take down Fascist symbols in Spain."
Baroness Thatcher, who passed away on April 8th at the age of 87, was the first female British Prime Minister. She was also the first British Prime Minister to make an official visit to Spain, in 1988.
Nicknamed "the milk snatcher" when she stopped the distribution of free milk to schoolchildren, she ruled as the "Iron Lady" (due to her uncompromising nature) from 1979 until 1990.
In April this year, the city of Madrid also made plans to name a street after the late Thatcher, and this move also drew strong criticism.
Twitter accounts went a little wild then too, with @JotaInKoelle joking that mayor Ana Botella had forgotten that a street in Madrid was already named after the former British leader, linking to a street map website where "Calle de Brujas" was highlighted ("Witch Street" in English).