Australia

Nov 19, 2012

Shutting the school gate on God: a teacher’s view

The controversial "chaplains in schools" program split one Victorian state high school, as teacher Chris Fotinopoulos reports. He asked the students what they thought of religion in school.

Five years ago the staff at the school where I teach became divided over the question of whether to accept the $20,000 on offer by the Howard government to employ a school chaplain. After considerable discussion and robust debate, the school rejected the chaplaincy scheme because there were divergent views on the issue.

8 comments

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8 thoughts on “Shutting the school gate on God: a teacher’s view

  1. Shakira Hussein

    Like the author of this piece, I am opposed to the school chaplaincy program and would endorse the employment of a welfare worker in its place. However, I note that if the selection criteria are as stated above, it could be in violation of anti-discrimination legislation. I have no issues with stating that a welfare worker ought not to promote his/her religion during the course of his/her employment at a state school or undertake the job in his/her capacity as a representative of a religious faith. However, if she/he is an “official representative” of a religious organisation outside of school hours – well, what’s the problem? And what is meant by saying that the worker must not “display” faith-based views? Some could interpret that as forbidding a Muslim welfare worker from wearing hijab. I strongly doubt that the criteria were as narrowly defined as is implied in this article. If so, it would be troubling and possibly grounds for legal action.

  2. sauron256

    “Based on these responses, students do not seem to have as much faith in organised religion as some of their teachers.”

    And we know that students always know better than their teachers, right?

  3. SBH

    Will the Catholic church be afforded this access to our children?

  4. Gerry Hatrick, OAP

    How the why the govminnt allows this bollocks I have no idea.
    But they do.
    Clowns.

  5. CML

    I’m with Gerry! If students/parents want their child/children to have religious indoctrination, then it should be outside of school hours.
    Surely we have enough “segregation” of children now, with religious (and other types of schools) all flourishing under taxpayer funding. Doesn’t seem to occur to some people that this is a recipe for intolerance and social unrest further down the track.
    We should be like the rest of the civilised world and have the vast majority of children in the state school system “melting pot”. If the elite want to brainwash their own children, then let them pay for it.
    Very well said, Chris!

  6. blindphoton

    I was appalled with Gillard’s decision to continue with John Winston Hogbreath’s proffering of bronze-age superstitious nonsense in state schools.

    And, I’m constantly amazed that people believe this pap; the burning bushes (gee-whiz), the rising from the dead, the big sky-daddy who see’s all, and knows all, and is all powerful.

    Then how come he lets priests dilate little boy’s sphincters?? How come he gave Hitler free rein?? Try as many do with convoluted apologetics, there are no satisfactory answers to these and similar questions of evil.

    And this is why, along with other non-science like say astrology or homeopathy, religion has no place in schools.

  7. macadamia man

    Hmmmm . . . I wonder what your committee would have decided if they had been faced with the choice some Queensland public primaries are given: recruit and manage a “neutral” part-timer yourself, or cop the withdrawal of sufficient top-up funding “sourced from the community” allowing the school to hire/retain a full-time 5 days a week “welfare” staff member who “happens” to be a dedicated Christian and believes prayers are appropriate at Assembly.

  8. Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay

    I wonder where they get this idea that a ‘Chaplain’ of any faith would be palatable to children seeking help with their problems. Having spent 12 years at a private school the chaplain was the last person I would have spoken to about any of my problems. Can they at least show some evidence that a religious welfare worker on site works before throwing all this money around.

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