Need some help and advice pls

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
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explaindinosaurs??
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Need some help and advice pls

Post by explaindinosaurs?? » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:53 pm

My partners child is due to start school on monday and today we had to fill out the enrollment form, now i know youve propbably heard this a thousand times but when we got to the part where you put religion we put none although the child was baptised by her former partner. We are both non-religious. When we dropped the form off the secretry advised that she would need the baptismal cert. When we pointed out that the family are athiest we were told that it was a catholic school i.e. you child has to be catholic. We live in a small rural town with 1 school and the nearest Ed together school is 7 miles away approx and as we dont drive its a €60 taxi round trip as there is no bus service which we could afford as we are both unemployed.

Can anybody tell me the legalities of the situation and my options? What if i was muslim or another religion could they discriminate then? We were thinking of enrolling her for a couple of months then explaining that we have changed our beliefs and are now athiest. Could they then remove the child from the school mid term as such? Are we forced to have the child raised as catholic?
mkaobrih
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by mkaobrih » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:36 pm

Did she tell you that you have to be catholic or just that it's a catholic school (which it is). If it's the latter then enroll (if you've no other option) then check out your options on http://www.teachdontpreach.ie for opting your child out of religious instruction (once your in). Unfortunately each school is their own little fiefdom so it's pot luck what tolerance you get in your area.
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
Tulip1
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by Tulip1 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:10 am

You can get a grant for travel costs for your child to an Educate Together School.

The school is allowed under Irish law to discriminate against people who are not catholic. However they normally accept other and non religious people and they can opt out of religion classes. Sadly this means normally that your child does not have to participate in the Religious Education (RE) class.

In our case that meant that our son was still in the class when RE was given but he could do some drawing. The school has no responsibility to provide supervision of your child outside the class.

Also my son was taught prayers outside the RE class as you can only opt him out of RE classes and not the religion which is integrated into the whole curriculum. My son learned that god created the flower etc etc during other classes. We removed him from the school and he is attending an Ed Together school now. The school was 20 km away from us but because the only school that was confirm our conscience is an Educated Together school we are entitled to have some travel expenses paid for us. We could choose between taxi or petrol money.

My advice would be to get out that school as it will cause your child a lot of upset later if they are already starting with all this.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
explaindinosaurs??
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by explaindinosaurs?? » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:28 am

First off thanks for the replies, the school offical did not say "if your child is not catholic you cant come to this school" it was more implied, her actual words after we informed her of our beliefs were "Oh well this is a catholic school, its founded by father *******" leaving us the strong impression that you may find were full this term if we dont comply. Its very interesting that its a constitutional right to not have your child taught religion, but can the school then remove the child from the school? How long should we leave the situation before sending the "Opt Out" letter? although i cant see how a junior enfant could "opt out" of RE class, i see that she would be apart of the class regardless.

Could you give me more information on the travel allowance? where to apply for it etc.
Puck
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by Puck » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:10 pm

Hi,

We had to deal with a similar issue last year, when our son started junior infants. To ensure that he settled in OK, we waited a few weeks before booking an appointment with the principal. After two appointments and a meeting with the teacher, we were then informed that we needed to request to remove our child from RE class in writing to the school board. The meetings were very civilised and upfront, at no time were we intimidated, however they did try to persuade us that RE class were harmless and innocent.

The board quickly approved our written request and our son was removed from the classroom and supervised by a support teacher. The support teacher was still helping other kids, and our son was just in the corner of the room, doing work we provided.

We would mix up the work between colouring, puzzle books, maths and writing. We sourced the books from discount book stores.

Here is the letter we used:
To the Board of Management of <School Name>
After meetings with the principal, <Principal Name>, and reviewing the Alive-O curriculum, we have concluded that the Alive-O program is contrary to our family values and conscience.

We respect the school's Catholic ethos and acknowledge that the Catholic faith is integrated throughout the curriculum. However, to keep <Child's Name> in the Alive-O class would be disingenuous and hypocritical on our behalf, values that are against our family ethos.

We wish to exercise our Constitutional Right under Article 44.2.4 to opt our child out of Religious education class.
Section 30 – 2 (e) of the Education Act 1998 reads:
“Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Minister – shall not require any student to attend instruction in any subject which is contrary to the conscience of the parent of the student or, in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student.”

To ensure all involved are respected, we need to work together, with the Board of Management, to address this section of <Child's Name>'s schooling. From our understanding of the situation, we believe that perhaps the best course of action available is to remove <Child's Name> from the classroom. This ensures that <Child's Name> is not indoctrinated with religious instruction during this lesson and reduces the appearance of division within the classroom.

However, timing and supervision of this period away from class may need to be resolved, if the school can not provide supervision. In a recent report from the Irish Human Rights Commission, “Religion and Education: A Human Rights Perspective”, 24 May, 2011, it recommends the following:
“Where diverse provision of education does not exist in a school’s catchment area, consideration should be given to move formal religion classes to the start or end of the school day. While not ideal in terms of separating children, this might provide greater accommodation to parents of minority faith or non faith children seeking exemption. If sufficient numbers of students sought the exemption, provision could be made for a parallel class in ethics and philosophy, or other minority religions as demand dictates at the same time.”

We understand that it is within the remit of the school's patron and board of management to ensure that <Child's Name>'s human rights are respected by the school's ethos.

Feel free to contact us with regards any of the above.
Please confirm this in writing and please do not discuss this matter with my child.
Yours sincerely,

There is also this one:

http://www.teachdontpreach.ie/opting-ou ... y-schools/

Hope this helps.
Tulip1
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by Tulip1 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:41 pm

It really depends on the school as Irish law does not provide for any responsibility on the schools part. Our school told us to come and get our child and supervise him ourself during the RE class but as Puck showed in some schools people have no problems.

Let us know how you get on. They cannot refuse your child to opt out as this is the only thing the Irish Law caters for.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
HarryO'Criosna
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by HarryO'Criosna » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:33 pm

Just to share our experience...apologies to those who may have read this before...
Our kids are at a catholic school but are opted out of all religious activities. We did this informally by speaking to the principal and then the teacher each year. There has never been any problem with it, in fact some of the teachers have quietly admitted they support our position on it. They get to draw or read while the others are doing 'god stuff', the amount of time spent on this varies enormously from teacher to teacher. There hasn't been any "passive indoctrination" that we have noticed, and one of them has been through communion year without any noticeable stress or feeling left out. We even left it open for him to do it if he wanted, you should have seen his face! Apart from the money wild horses wouldn't have dragged him there (in common with probably 99% of his classmates). Remember that the key educators in their life will still be you.
If you were really stuck you can just cynically hand in the baptismal cert and then recant shortly afterwards...let's be honest, the vast majority of 'catholic' parents have no more interest in religion than you do, they've just never put any thought into it.
Puck
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Re: Need some help and advice pls

Post by Puck » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:12 pm

HarryO'Criosna wrote:Just to share our experience...apologies to those who may have read this before...
Our kids are at a catholic school but are opted out of all religious activities. We did this informally by speaking to the principal and then the teacher each year.
Is there a need to notify the school every year? Guess I'll be finding out tomorrow...
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