In 2015, the group Fairness In Religions In School (FIRIS) got the government of Victoria (Australia) to stop “special religious instruction” during class time that was really nothing more than Christian indoctrination.
Now they’re trying to end religious education altogether in New South Wales.
… the group is targeting NSW, where Special Religious Education (SRE) is delivered in class time by religious groups unless parents opt their child out.
Catherine Walsh from the Fairness in Religion in Schools group, a mother of three children at inner west Sydney high schools, said she was shocked when she found out SRE classes were not run or regulated by the Department of Education, despite their presence in the enrolment paperwork.
She accused the department of negligently suspending its duty of care for children during the time they spend in SRE.
“I believe that any program which requires the suspension of the department’s own policy and curriculum should not operate in public schools. To do so is to risk children’s protection and the department’s duty of care,” Ms Walsh said.
Even if, as defenders of the program say, everything is on the up and up, there’s still so much room for abuse. If the line of objectivity was crossed, who would stop it? It’s a problem that really needs regulation. Without it, it’s not worth keeping during the school day.
It gets worse:
The FIRIS group has been given a boost in its NSW campaign by inner west parents displeased by the expansion of SRE into the inner city Sydney Secondary College for the first time this year; and a contentious change of timetable that put SRE in the middle of the day at Fort Street in Petersham last year.
Under department policy, students not enrolled in SRE can not have any other classes while SRE is on. This meant hundreds of Fort Street students were wasting time while just eight received SRE classes. (Enrolment may have increased this year.)
Sounds like a waste of real educational time. All the more reason to get rid of those classes for good.
(Thanks to Julie for the link)