SCRIPTURE Union QLD CEO Peter James explains the official role of Christian chaplains in secular schools after the High Court ruled there was no legal basis for their funding model.
1. Do you fear the High Court ruling on chaplaincy funding will change the level of funding and therefore the amount of chaplaincy support provided at Sunshine Coast schools?
The level of funding was set in the May budget, so the only issue now is what model of funding will the government put in place for next year. We know that the Federal Government is considering how they can continue their support of the program.
2. What is the role of a chaplain as per the job description?
The chaplain's role is to supply social, emotional and spiritual support as outlined in the government requirements. That includes working as part of the school's student support team, providing pastoral care to young people.
Should Christian, Islamic, and other religious chaplains be allowed in state schools?
This poll ended on 21 June 2015.
Yes, it takes a person of faith to support children in need.
They should be allowed in alongside trained councellors.
This is a Christian country, Christian chappies only need apply.
Don't skimp on kids in need of help. Trained counsellors only, please.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
3. Why does SU Queensland see chaplains as a vital part of schools?
A chaplain fulfils a role that isn't fulfilled by any other member of the school staff. Schools voluntarily choose a chaplain because they understand the many benefits that the service provides. These benefits include providing courses and providing pastoral care to help children find a sense of belonging within the school environment, help build problem-solving skills, build resilience and self-confidence, and to help them work through issues they may be facing on an individual level.
4. What do you say to suggestions that chaplains don't belong in public schools due to their religious ties?
The role of a school chaplain includes providing spiritual support. The role is non-coercive, but it recognises the importance of spirituality for young people. Chaplains are respectful of all faiths and those who do not identify with a particular faith. In fact, positive spirituality has been shown to contribute to positive health and wellbeing, recovery from illnesses and long life.
5. What is the policy on chaplains discussing religious and faith matters with students?
The role explicitly includes being available to support children in their exploration of spirituality which is an important part of personal identity for many students. The High Court's Chief Justice and four other members of the court made very positive comments about chaplaincy and how it benefits students.
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