Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
BubbleWrap
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Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by BubbleWrap » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:51 am

Hi, I can't find a topic that matches my question. If there is one, will someone please point me in its direction?

What do people think about Religious Education being compulsory for the junior cert? Is it wrong?

If anyone wants to see the syllabus, you can download a PDF here:
http://www.curriculumonline.ie/uploaded ... ion_sy.pdf

Background to my question:
My son goes to a protestant comprehensive school which used to be highly secular in nature as I remember it in the '70s. He is a staunch atheist and abhors being taught religion as a fact. This appears to be what the RE teacher is doing, although I have only my son's word for it. As a result he tends to refuse to do the homework given. Because I share his non-belief values I support him by giving him excuse notes. However, his personal protest does open himself up to punishments from the teacher. Right now we're dealing with the prospect of 3 hour detention over failure to do homework.
I'm going to start a revolution... er... if that's ok with everyone?
Feardorcha
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by Feardorcha » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:19 am

Religion is not a compulsory subject.

He doesn't have to attend religious classes.

You should contact the school and insist on his constitutional right not to sit in on this class. If you have any difficulty, there is a sample letter, posted by Marks (search this forum for his/her posts), that you could use to write to the school.

If you look at the thread "How did you prepare your kids against religion at school?" you will find excellent advice on this issue.

This website does need a section of advice for parents on dealing with schools or maybe the posts on this topic could be collected and issued as a permanent feature on the main page.

Do keep us posted as to how you get on. There are several parents here who have gone down this road and are only too willing to help.
BubbleWrap
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by BubbleWrap » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:34 am

Thank you so much for your reply Feardorcha. It appears that it IS compulsory at Junior level. But if someone can prove to me that it isn't, and that he can be excused I would be THRILLED beyond belief! (excuse the poor pun)
I'm going to start a revolution... er... if that's ok with everyone?
Marks
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by Marks » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:38 am

The Religious Education course under the curriculum disrespects the philosophical convictions of non-religious parents under Article II of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

If your school has a Religious Ethos then parts of the course are religious formation. This breaches your right to freedom of conscience as you have a human and constitutional right to opt out of any religious formation.

On top of the above in these schools they teach as a truth the existence of a God so the course is not delivered in an objective, critical and pluralistic manner.

I am rushing out the door now but I will do up a letter for you later. You will be able to opt him out of this class. I really don't know how these schools are getting away with this. It is not compulsory and don't mind them if they say it is. They said the same to me about this course and I got my children out of it. Every parent that has challenged this course has managed to opt their child out of it.
BubbleWrap
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by BubbleWrap » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:42 am

Marks,

This is quite a revelation to me (again, excuse the unfortunate pun). I had assumed there was no way out? Thank you so much!
I'm going to start a revolution... er... if that's ok with everyone?
Tulip1
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by Tulip1 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:12 pm

bubblewrap can I congatulate you with your very good parenting! It seems to me you brought up a well thinking strong willed boy!! I hope mine is the same in a few years.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
lostexpectation
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by lostexpectation » Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:13 pm

presumably they'll try to claim the junior cert course teaches about 'all' religions
test
BubbleWrap
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by BubbleWrap » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:02 pm

Tulip1 wrote:bubblewrap can I congratulate you with your very good parenting! It seems to me you brought up a well thinking strong willed boy!! I hope mine is the same in a few years.
Well, thank you for the kind compliment. You might not be saying that in a few years! :lol: Dealing with a 13yr old head strong boy, ain't all fun (but I love the little rascal anyway).

One after another he has kicked the ass out of all the mumbo jumbo since he was very small. Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny, Santa. And when he realised he was right with those it didn't take long for him to see the flaws in religious belief. And I must point out that we said he must think about it all, belief in god, all religions, non-belief, atheism, humanism, and make up his own mind. He's settled on atheism. And does not wish to be labeled a humanist like his Dad. (well, come on, he has to rebel at something!) :lol: But I don't think it was entirely my influence that caused this. I also give credit to a wonderful Educate Together primary schooling, meeting members of the Humanist Assoc, and that he never underwent any dreadful indoctrination.

There's an army of strong willed freethinking young adults out there that have been through the ET system and they're not afraid to stand up and be counted.
I'm going to start a revolution... er... if that's ok with everyone?
Feardorcha
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by Feardorcha » Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:55 pm

I found this on the Dept of Ed website. The last sentence is intriguing.
"All students must follow courses in Irish (except where exemptions apply), English, Mathematics and Civic, Social and Political Education. There may be other compulsory subjects, depending on the type of school."
You say it is a Protestant comprehensive so maybe they have a quota system for Protestants and Others and this 'compulsory' rule is a school rule. In any event I feel sure they cannot apply it but let's wait and see what Marks has to say.
Tulip1
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Re: Compulsory Religious Education in the Junior Certificate

Post by Tulip1 » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:14 pm

BubbleWrap well you did the great job of letting him make up his own mind. Our wee man will go to a educate together school in two years when we can move from here. Can't wait.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
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