Special needs kids to be escorted past asylum center near school

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From Monday the municipality of Loon op Zand will be sending volunteers to accompany kids cycling from Kaatsheuvel to the special education primary school in Waalwijk. The about 60 kids' fixed route to school takes them past a coming temporary shelter for 1,200 asylum seekers. The municipality hopes that this measure will ease the parents' fear for the safety of their children, alderman Wil Ligtenberg said to newspaper AD.

According to the alderman, these kids need structure and routine in their daily lives and their route can not simply be changed. He added that the bicycle route past the temporary asylum center is completely safe. "But we decided not to try and convince parents of that fact. A part of them can not be convinced."

A spokesperson for asylum seekers organization Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland called the measure stigmatizing for asylum seekers and refugees. "You have to take the concerns of citizens seriously, but now the municipality is confirming the people's unjust fears."