Thursday, April 03, 2008

Controversy for the Chaplain

I had a phone call today from an Ed Dept investigator concerning an incident that happened in 2003, asking for my recollections. It concerned a complaint from a parent. When I checked my diary I couldn't find any trace of it. Then I realised he'd given me the wrong date and it actually occurred in 2004. My recollections are vague (sign of age!) and my notes are scant but he is coming to interview me on Friday. (The complaint is not against me or to do with anything I did, but I saw the student in question at the time and the parent is still pursuing it even though it was very minor and she took the kid out of the school shortly after.) We've talked at PD days about the possibility of investigations and how we should handle them. I've only been involved in one previous one following an incident at a camp I ran. They're not fun, dealing as they do with people who have been hurt or offended in some way. Hopefully my participation will be useful and beneficial and a satisfactory outcome will be achieved.

It was a day for controversial issues as I'm also dealing with a dispute concerning a Christian Drama Group I have coming to the school next week. It was all approved by the relevant authorities but a staff member has raised objections on the grounds that it is a secular school, and therefore, in their opinion, there is no place for any religious input at all.
Funny how people can have all sorts of views and beliefs, and be applauded for them eg. the Dalai Lama, except if they're Christian!! Then the opponents start making a fuss.
I'm not naive, there are appropriate guidelines and sensible restrictions on what groups can do in schools for good reason, but the blanket approach, that only secular groups, presentations, speakers etc are acceptable is just as biased and prejudiced as Christians are accused of being if they talk about faith in Jesus Christ.
Education is about providing a range of information and views on a wide variety of topics. So long as students are informed what basis a particular idea is coming from they are free then to evaluate it and make their own choices.
The Education dept, and the state and federal governments all support a Christian presence in schools via chaplaincy and religious education, but some people want to deny the right to teach about God or express any ideas about faith.
I suspect there is a personal issue behind this particular objection, there usually is.

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