London Atheist Activist Group (friendly community) Message Board 1. MAIN FORUM - (non-Islam) › NZ state school 'Values In Action' (aka bible) class uses naughty corner for

NZ state school 'Values In Action' (aka bible) class uses naughty corner for a child that opts out

Georgi L.
Guffaw
London, GB
Post #: 978
From Richard Dawkins'/NZ Herald:

State school put 7-year-old in 'naughty corner' when parents wanted her pulled out of religious studies.

Jeff McClintock photographed his 7-year-old daughter Violet when he found her in the "naughty corner" during the 'Values in Action' class at Red Beach School.

A couple who took their daughter out of a school class based on the Bible were dismayed to find her left alone in a classroom "naughty corner" with a book during the 35-minute lesson.

Jeff McClintock posted a photograph of his 7-year-old daughter Violet on the Secular Education Network Facebook page showing the little girl kneeling on the floor next to a rubbish bin as she read the book, at Red Beach School, Auckland.

Mr McClintock said he was told the school had an alternative programme for children who opted out of the weekly Values in Action class.

When he arrived one day to check on her he found her in the corner children are sent to for being naughty.

"Last year my daughter spent a total of 4.5 days sitting in this corner.

"Also bear in mind she's in earshot of her friends singing, doing fun activities and hearing stories."

He said that his daughter had "promised not to be naughty again" when she returned home after one of the opt-out sessions.

Mr McClintock and his wife took a stand against the class when as a 5-year-old Violet began asking if she could "meet God".

"We went along to have a look and realised it was run by very devout Christians."

He said although the school asked parents for permission for their children to learn Values in Action, he said it was not clear until he pressed the previous principal and board of trustees who agreed it was "religious instruction".

That was more than three years after a 2008 Education Review Office report advised the board to clarify exactly what the class was.

More than 40 per cent of state schools offer Bible studies with about 2000 untrained volunteer teachers from outside the school.

The classes must not be held in school hours but schools can circumvent the law by "closing" the classroom for the duration of the studies, which usually last up to 30 minutes.

The McClintocks have complained to the Ombudsman, saying the school is not meeting requirements around education hours because of time allocated for the Bible studies classes.

Mr McClintock now takes Violet out of the classroom corner once a week for a walk while Values in Action is taught.

Red Beach School principal Julie Hepburn and board of trustees chairman Malcolm Haggerty did not return Herald messages. A spokeswoman for Values In Action said they did not want to comment.

The rules

*A state school can choose whether to include religious classes as part of its curriculum.
*School boards do not have to notify parents on choosing to include religious classes, but most schools discuss the issue with parents.
*A parent can have their child "opt out" of classes.
*It is the school board's responsibility to come up with an alternative arrangement for students who opt out.
*No other religious instruction can take place at a secular school.
Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 240
Sounds bad, until you think what might have happened a couple of hundred years ago, or in an islamic state today. So progress, I guess.

(And even as a 7 yr old I'd have rather sat on my own reading a book than have been made to sing bloody hymns or listen to crappy bible stories. Though I tried hard to believe, there was no getting around how weak it all was.)
Barry R.
user 10723166
London, GB
Post #: 512
As bad as this appears, I think that the child will be very grateful in later life.

Instead of being indoctrinated along with her fellows, she was allowed to 'read a book'', which is no 'punishment' at all.

She is also learning that being a free-thinker isn't easy and can lead to being ostracised by the weak-minded. Ultimately, I'm sure that she'll be glad that her parents took a stand, even though it must be tough right now.

Martyn
Maradam
Guildford, GB
Post #: 421
I was forced to listen to religious prattle when I was a child. We were forced to sing hymns (boring!) say prayers (Our Feather, who farts in heaven - giggle giggle) and listen to some old guy chant in latin and waive a disgusting smelly smoke bomb around the church. It did wonders for my religious education.

The 'newer' groups are far more dangerous though. They can lead to indoctrination.

I wonder if she read 'The God Delusion'?
cafenoire
user 4561156
London, GB
Post #: 14
i would have allowed my daughter to attend, but she would have been raised to question everything even the teacher in the class and to disupte religion. that way she could help the other children question views that are based on blind faith. i do not think that atheism should become a religion in itself, ie forbid others to hear other beliefs, whatever the belief system atheism or theism it should be open to discussion and criticism, otherwise it is in fact blind faith.
Alex D
SeeksTruthNboobs
London, GB
Post #: 243
i would have allowed my daughter to attend, but she would have been raised to question everything even the teacher in the class and to disupte religion. that way she could help the other children question views that are based on blind faith. i do not think that atheism should become a religion in itself, ie forbid others to hear other beliefs, whatever the belief system atheism or theism it should be open to discussion and criticism, otherwise it is in fact blind faith.

Fine in theory - but if you have to spend time and mental energy giving consideration to every idea for which there is zero evidence you could waste your whole life that way. If I had a kid I wouldn't want her to waste as much time as I have getting confused by harmful nonsensical ideas and then trying to undo the damage again - I'd want to try to teach her to learn to spot this stuff at a distance, avoid it and spend her time doing something productive instead.
Barry R.
user 10723166
London, GB
Post #: 513
Hi cafenoir,

You obviously found this article interesting as did I.

Some of the points raised in the article that would have caused me to keep my kid out of this activity were:

Putting the child in ‘the naughty corner’. That’s a punishment and punishment is unwarranted in this case. She was “….left alone in a classroom "naughty corner" with a book during the 35-minute lesson.
Jeff McClintock posted a photograph of his 7-year-old daughter Violet on the Secular Education Network Facebook page showing the little girl kneeling on the floor next to a rubbish bin as she read the book, at Red Beach School, Auckland”

Such action is not an ‘alternative programme’, that’s marginalization of a child from its peers; especially given that, “".. she's in earshot of her friends singing, doing fun activities and hearing stories."
“..his daughter had "promised not to be naughty again" when she returned home after one of the opt-out sessions“.

The child hadn’t been ‘naughty at all, she was being punished for not following the crowd.
I would have demanded that the staff made it clear to my child that h/she had not been naughty and I would have sought an absolute assurance that h/she would never again be placed in ‘the naughty corner’ for opting out of religious instruction.

“Mr McClintock and his wife took a stand against the class when as a 5-year-old Violet began asking if she could "meet God".

Human’s don’t meet God, somebody at the school was telling her lies. If it were a member of staff or any of the ‘untrained volunteers’ they should be brought to book for lying to children in an educational setting. I would want to know who had told h/her this tripe.

“…It [the school] was run by very devout Christians." But it isn’t ‘faith school, so those running it should not be expounding their beliefs to the kids.

“.. the previous principal and board of trustees who agreed it was "religious instruction".

The magic word here is ‘instruction’, I prefer to use the word indoctrination. There’s nothing ‘instructive’ in telling a child that God, Satan, heaven and hell are real.

I think that the point you make in your comment about allowing your own child to “..
question everything even the teacher in the class and to disupte religion. that way she could help the other children question views that are based on blind faith“ is highly commendable and I have done that with my three sons and never regretted it.
Unfortunately, I fear that given the above scenario, your child and mine might have been treated, not with respect, but with hostility.

Finally, if I may, the notion that atheism could ever become a religion is the usual snipe of the religious mind. As I’m sure you know, atheism is a rejection of all Gods. Atheism does not seek to supplant one god with another and no atheist has ever sought to do so.
Atheism is very open to discussion and criticism; the existence of this meet-up group and discussion-board is hard evidence for that.

Regards, Barry
















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