thread: Agnostic mums and dads of children at school- I am after some advice!!

  1. #19
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2005
    Where the heart is

    Re: Agnostic mums and dads of children at school- I am after some advi

    My point being more that it's the randomness of the fervour/interpretative creativity of the evangelist in question. The ACCESS Ministries program that is delivered in schools is still delivered by volunteers who are known to add their own bits and stray from the program. It would be difficult to keep track of how it's going here from the UK, but there have been many breaches - the latest one where kids in one Victorian school were given a booklet on how girls make boys think and do bad things by the way they dress, in place of the standard bible they usually give out. Since that incident was publicised ACCESS released a statement of how their program is educationally sound and uses curriculum, which was quite a load of made up bollocks in itself and many schools retracted the notice after it was published in newsletters.
    The thing is, allowing such privileged access of Christianity in our public schools seems like a great idea to many Christians, but really it undermines the freedom of ALL religions to be free from religion in schools. There are, in fact, many Christian parents who support FIRIS' work and don't agree with the SRI program. If you think about it hard enough you'll start to see the implications for everyone's freedoms. The arguments used by ACCESS and many right-wing Christians lack all credibility (invoking the idea that kids can't understand history and literature without being indoctrinated into Christianity...pfft). Christianity is not the cultural zero, and kids don't need to be taught it in order to appreciate that people around them might have beliefs that don't fit in with theirs.
    There are 'little known sides' to all religions, in fact, and aspects of various religions can be taught in social science or history classes, not by unqualified volunteers who undermine the rest of the curriculum.
    That's all an aside to the OP, but relevant, too.
    Meanwhile, I came from that dual background and was very hurt by it - imagine the confusion in a child who is told their parents are going to hell for not even being Christians. It happens, I have friends who have had this come into their home after SRI lessons.

  2. #20
    BellyBelly Member

    Jul 2010
    Rural NSW near ACT

    Re: Agnostic mums and dads of children at school- I am after some advi

    I have a couple of things to mention here.
    Firstly at schools I have taught in some teachers have taught RI and taken a group of students as they have been trained in their religion and are comfortable teaching it. In all other instances with volunteers there is always a teacher in the room while the volunteers are taking the group. The volunteers are not on "free rein" while teaching about a religion.
    It is a tricky path for teachers however as parents have agreed for their kids to be in a class...........hard to judge if what's being taught is accurate for the religion without the personal training (particularly for teachers like me who have not been to church much and have one atheist parent!).
    I have supervised a lot of these classes and have to say I found the Catholic Nuns the best at teaching stories of the bible clearly. Also once there was a really cool Rabbi who spoke at a good level for the kids.
    I have also supervised the "non-religious" groups at this time......to me it seems such a shame to waste this time that could be used to learn about a variety of religions. Most children in most schools I've been to spend the 1/2 hour doing puzzles or colouring. With such a lot to fit in it just seems a waste of precious time in school.
    Secondly I remember when we were kids mum let us choose a different religion to attend each term. I reckon we got a pretty good understanding of the religious stories this way.
    Lastly (and I reckon this is funny) my cousins child had a really scientific mind which was strongly encouraged by his atheist dad and agnostic mum. He too was allowed to attend whichever group interested him each term...........he used to ask tricky questions to the volunteers like "how could god build the world in 7 days as even a tree takes longer than that to grow.......and how did god make night and day, was it because he made the world spin? How did god fit EVERY species on the ark and stop them eating each other and pack enough food for them all?"
    All these were excellent questions and he got kicked out of two groups for being "disruptive!!!!!"

  3. #21
    BellyBelly Member

    Jun 2007
    Where Chaos is fun and plentiful!!!!

    Re: Agnostic mums and dads of children at school- I am after some advi

    Thanks everyone for the input!!

    Peanutter- Thank you- you are spot on- I am already trying to influence him to my own beliefs and not allowing him to find his own path!! But I guess I see my path as an open one- not one influenced by any one particular belief, which is what I would like him to follow until he is old enough to make an informed choice. (which at 33 I have come to conclusion myself that I can't possibly pick one of the many in case it is wrong)- So in such as to not be told one version as the 100% truth. The volunteers are not starting their lessons with "We believe.." they are telling the kids "This is true" which is where my issue lies.

    I will look into more of the legislation regarding the SRI in public schools, and also maybe talk to the principal about doing one religion for one term, and then possibly introducing another religion in another term kind of thing. (although we are in a very small town and I suspect there is only one prominent group who are willing to come and do the classes) It isn't the teacher teaching the classes- it is volunteers as mentioned. They have been doing it in this particular school for the last 30 years. I think most parents are ok to go with the flow and it doesn't impact their lives either way- they either do have some kind belief and don't practice or they just arn't too fussed with the whole thing (ignorance/denial etc) I just tend to be someone who feels quite strongly about the entire world religion fiasco and I am probably projecting too much of that onto my 5 year old boy and what he learns for half an hour once a week at school. (not like me at all )

    Thanks everyone for the input and the advice! I think I might be writing some letters though... I think now is the time for change, not just for my little town primary school- but for SRI as a whole