When our daughters chose to opt out of the god-botherers preaching about sky fairies (Miss Ten’s words, not mine) at school, just before Easter, they were sent to pick up litter in the school grounds instead.
This is on my mind, because my kid came home from State school with this today:
Categories: education, ethics & philosophy, religion, social justice
I’m very happy with my son’s public school because he came home with pictures of easter eggs and easter bunnies. They even did an Easter egg hunt. He hasn’t mentioned any religious stuff at all.
Do up a pamphlet of your own for the kids to take back to school. Something like this:
Easter is a gluttonous celebration that remembers the Easter Bunny, who died in a cocoa plantation and was mixed with bucketloads of sugar to the delight of my tastebuds.
I would find it so hard to leave my children enrolled at that school.
I was lucky with our primary school in that there just happened to be two consecutive atheist principals during our time there, but I did clash with a couple of highschool teachers over this stuff. One charming math teacher could not cope with the idea of my daughter using the godbag period for independent study and forced her to complete exercises from an ancient math text that was two school grades below her’s, just so she could have the last say about it.
I empathise with people who opt to home school.
Now I’m off to barbecue some red meat and bake some leavened bread and nurture my resentment about losing pay so that the godbags can impose their make believe ideology on my entire society.
Oy to the flying spaghetti monster!
P.P. – not sure if you’re talking with me or Deborah, but we’re both planning to address the situation with staff, rather than uproot the children to a different school working under exactly the same system.
It looks as if things have improved a lot since the seventies, when the Catholic mums came to my State School every Tuesday to rant at the Catholic kids. They seemed to really go for broke around Easter time.
They told us Easter eggs symbolise new life, ie: the resurrection, but they never did explain the bunnies.
I was well into adulthood before I heard of the goddess Oestre, and
found out the bunnies are a symbol of what bunnies are famous for.
One charming math teacher could not cope with the idea of my daughter using the godbag period for independent study and forced her to complete exercises from an ancient math text that was two school grades below her’s, just so she could have the last say about it.
So your daughter isn’t studying religion, and therefore the teacher aims to make sure the period is completely useless to her in any other respect? Delightful. And seems to me something of a dereliction of duty.
While it concerns me that those opting out of RE are not given something constructive to do, I do not understand the negativity associated with it in public schools. The little pamphlet appears simply to be something that states a fact about what Christian’s believe about Easter and Easter IS historically a Christian celebration. Not something to get overly upset about. I’m sure that there were plenty of bunnies and eggs at school in addition to it (which by the way, we do not celebrate with, but I don’t get up in arms if my kids do colour-ins of fictitious bunnies delivering chocolate eggs).
Mouse: The pamphlet says that Jesus Christ “died on the cross and rose from the dead”, stated as fact. Not that Christians believe there was a person called that who did these things. (Nor is Easter purely a Christian celebration; if you believe it is, your history reading is extraordinarily selective.)
If the teacher is going to offer a GRE (General Religious Education) curriculum to Grade One, she needs to offer a comprehensive syllabus covering various religions and beliefs. If it’s SRE (Special Religious Education), we’re opted out. Neither of these has taken place; instead, Christianity teaching has just been incorporated into the regular classroom teaching. This is why I wish to address it.
Next time someone says I’m getting unreasonably “upset” or “making a fuss” about something…. I’m not particularly riled about this incident, but it does press my buttons when people pull that shit on me. The fact that you read “overly upset” from these two lines:
suggests to me that you’re bringing a whole world of your own baggage to this. Mouse, if you don’t like it, move on, or attempt to dissent politely on the facts. Don’t lecture me that it should be unimportant or irrelevant, or I’m being unreasonably upset or hysterical or illogical.
@P.P. – removing the children from the school would be very, very much a last resort. They’re integrated into the school community, they have friends there, it’s the closest school to our home, so much so that we can walk to this school, but the next schools over would both be quite a hike, and so on. We’ve had recent experience shifting schools, and to be fair, shifting countries as well, and it was incredibly disruptive for our girls. So we are starting with the school’s grievance procedure, and trying to be very constructive about it, and we’ll see if we can manage it that way.
And what Lauredhel said about Mouse’s comment. Not that Mouse’s comment was directed at me, but it pushed my buttons too.
I do apologise if I pushed some buttons. I actually was curious as I’ve only ever had positive experiences from RE classes (including Christian and general religious) both from my own upbringing and my kids. I think I worded myself poorly, which is possibly the case when I’ve had little sleep from a sick 2yo in the last week.
I had a similar reaction to Mouse, but would check whether a) similar promotional material is provided for other faith-based celebrations and b) if so, whether that material similarly lacks qualifiers. If either answer is no, THEN I think you’d have some cause for complaint.
Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..PETA Shop Boys
DeM: He’s been there five terms now, and there hasn’t.
Deborah and Lauredhel, I can fully empathise with your situations and am aware of all that a transfer would entail. As I already said, I’ve been there, so please don’t read that first line as a judgement about how the situation should be handled, that was absolutely not my intention at all.
Rather, that was my spontaneous first response to what I know is a difficult and complex problem. Empathy, in other words.
Mouse, this isn’t about our individual positive experiences. State-run schools have absolutely no business including religious indoctrination into the school day. We’re not talking about study of the history of religions, which is a valid academic subject that kids in this country have an option to *choose* to study in upper high school.
What this thread refers to is the practice of allowing local religious advocates access to a regular captive audience who do not have the right to refuse the experience.
It’s a draconian practice that has nothing to do with the school curriculum and everything to do with appeasing the catholic church, and it should have been phased out years ago.
That pamphlet doesn’t even use the standard foundation handwriting style.
It IS something to be “overly upset” about; we could do with a few more people getting upset about this stuff.
I agree it is time to get upset about this stuff. My family’s experience in the public schools in South Australia is such that we now home school. The first school that my eldest daughter went to had a Chaplain, this is b4 the Howard government initiative to fund Chaplain’s in schools – so now, more not less have these paid proselytisers who seem to have a lot of time on their hands and not much in the way of policy guidelines to operate from.
Policy regarding Chaplain’s and what they can do is a bit scant in SA and each state and school will have different provisions, but the clear policy that they are not to initiate contact with the under grade 3’s was broken all the time. At this school the Chaplain got a Christian Outreach program involved in the volunteer work associated with providing a ‘breakfast club’ at the school as well as some lunch time activities. I was constantly seeing things like let’s put Jesus back into Christmas on the newsletters.
My daughter started attending the bclub (open from 8-8.30) as a boy from across the street who my husband would give a lift to school started attending to get breakfast every day after his Mum and Dad had split up and there was nothing much to eat in their house so my daughter followed when she found out that you get Nutri grain and coco pops if you have breakfast there. So she started going with him a bit early to school to get second breakfast and then i found out and started saying wait on there’s no such thing as a free breakfast but nevertehless not wanting to make a big deal of it and put my foot down over it.
So i let her try it and talked about making healthy choices but i was always uneasy about it and ended up critical of both the food and the religious involvement speaking to the school about the food choices in the bclub after making inquiries as to how it operates – and the school’s comment saying that beggars can’t be choosers about the food that is provided by donation…!!!!
I was just about to make a big stink within the school and the department about the inappropriateness of doing the breakfast club in this way when we moved and it all became rather ‘moot’ as the new school had no breakfast club and no Chaplain.
The Princi[pal there was a Baptist and he allowed the Chaplain to do lunch activities some days which targeted the kids going to breakfast club even the r-1s as my littlie was. I was horrified a few weeks after starting school when she came home saying that at lunch time she did yard duty with the teacher i.e following the teacher/s around and sometimes talking to them.
Apparently the other kids in the class either fought over her attention or wanted her to be a boy in the games they played! (As she’d just had a hair cut due to a couple of meetings with head lice) So, she was having difficulty finding someone her age to hang out with, and the Chaplain’s groups were just what she wanted to fill the gap so she started going to lunch activities with the Chaplain and this had been going on for weeks b4 i found out. There ought to be more of this kind of structured activity for the littlies at lunch time but organised through the school and not the Religious ‘volunteers’.
FYI a few years ago Flinders Uni a Pagan Chaplain was ‘employed’, maybe concerned people (atheists) could send it up by pushing for Pagan Chaplains to be employed at other schools with the Federal Chaplain money, or to argue for redirection of the funding for ordinary Counsellors? Good luck getting anywhere with state schools over these issues. I have found the School Council model flawed and you can’t expect accountability if the Council is against what the Principal wants to occur.
Mouse: Ancient Celts and Pagans everywhere take issue w/ your reading of the history of Easter.
PS: It’s me, OuyangDan, but I changed my name info for personal reasons. Sorry for the confusion.
Ooh, so glad my kids don’t do school 😉
Ah yes, I remember all those Scripture lessons in primary school — I always thought it was terribly unfair that simply not believing in god was not enough of a reason to get you out of the lessons.
Whether Mouse has a handle on Easter’s roots in paganism is rather moot, I’d have thought: the reason Easter is observed as a public holiday in Australia is because of the historically-established Church of England’s influence on government. It might be an ambiguous springtime fertility festival to the effectively-secular majority, but to Christians, if Christ doesn’t get tortured, nailed, buried and resurrected, it’s not any kind of Easter at all.
I don’t think either that it’d be acceptable to have a Jesus pamphlet in which Easter were described as a holiday “in which Christians believe” there was a person called Christ who rose from the dead, any more than it’d be acceptable for a Passover colouring-in sheet to describe it as a commemoration in which Jews “believe” God passed over the first-born sons of the Israelites, even though there’s a lot of historical doubt about the whole Exodus. It’s… patronising.
Obviously I agree with you Lauredhel that GRE education is to be preferred by far over selective introduction of Jesus into class, no matter how stretched the teacher is for colouring-in templates.
PP, if you’re losing pay because of the public holiday, I strongly encourage you to join your applicable trade union.
Actually, in South Australia Easter is a celebration of the harvest season. Just as it is over most of the southern hemisphere. If you’re seeing new life and happy hatchings then you’re doing it wrong. Just because delusional godbags don’t believe that the seasons are at different times in different hemispheres is no reason to try to confuse your children. Spring is when seasonal births mostly occur, autumn is when the harvest comes in. These days fruit comes from the supermarket and meat from the freezer but it’s still somewhat useful to know that prices change seasonally and why.
I’d object purely on the grounds that I think celebrating the death of anyone is wrong.
I’m a good few hours’ drive west of South Australia, but this season sure is a time of new life here. The rains are starting, and the brown crispy yard is starting to turn to green. We’ve just started the replanting. I can start to venture outdoors without wilting the moment I poke my head out.
For me, spring is just a time of dreading the coming summer; there’s nothing “regenerative” about the feeling at all.
I have some pretty strong advice for you too, Liam.
Presenting facts accurately is “patronising”, but presenting the supernatural myths of patriarchal religion as if they were immutable truth is – what, exactly, Liam?
If Christians are all up in arms about “present information about our religion our way, or not at all”, I have a real simple answer to that.