They teach religious education in many New Zealand schools, but in some cases, the lessons veer into religious indoctrination. (That’s why groups like the Secular Education Network are trying to change the laws to fix that.)
That’s also why parents sometimes allow their kids to opt out of the classes.
When that happens, what are the students supposed to do? Maybe they do homework in another classroom. Maybe they read a book. Maybe they just go to the library.
Tanya Jacob says she pulled her son out of Harewood School in 2012 after first opting him out of the religious classes for three years.
She claims he was being “snuck back in the classes” or in conjoining rooms sorting books “within earshot” and the school was repeatedly asked to have him completely removed, but then he was made to do dishes.
Seriously. They had the kid do manual labor because he wasn’t sitting through religion classes.
I guess the thinking went, “If those other kids aren’t learning anything useful, you can’t either.”
“Kids that do these classes are given lollies for believing in God, and the ones that don’t are made to pick up rubbish.”
Her son was reluctant to go to school on bible days, and by the end he was “anxious, tearful, and confused at how he was treated by the children and the staff.
“This really hurt our family.”
Jacob says she’s working with SEN to change the current law.
In the meantime, just think about what the worldwide reaction would be if this happened to the child of a Christian parent instead of a non-religious one.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Mandy for the link)