Toowoomba dad calls for halt to school religion
BREAKING: A staunch opponent of chaplains says religious instruction in Queensland public schools must be suspended.
Toowoomba man Ron Williams made the comments as he weighed in controversy surrounding the syllabus Connect.
Windsor State School found the program taught children "every single person has sinned and rejected God and deserves to be punished" may be "soliciting" Christianity.
Mr Williams said a decision Education Minister by Kate Jones to review certain Christian religious instruction materials ignored far more critical issues.
"Religious instruction is provided at Queensland public schools on an 'opt-in' basis. Students are by legislation either placed into religious instruction or provided with 'other instruction in a separate location' according to information provided within the standard enrolment application form.
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"In 2013 I was invited to participate in a review of religious instruction and chaplaincy policy. Extended consultations resulted in a simple process of religious instruction placement involving no documentation other than the enrolment form itself.
"Unfortunately, since its implementation in 2014, this process has largely been ignored. At many schools it still remains common practice to place the vast majority of students into religious instruction by default, while providing incorrect or misleading placement information within school newsletters and parent handbooks.
"On a weekly basis we receive an ongoing stream of complaints from parents who have had their children placed into religious instruction contrary to their clearly stated wishes within the Education Queensland enrolment form.
"Our most recent information sourced from the OneSchool database reveals that over 70% of Queensland parents either leave the enrolment form 'Religion' question blank, or nominate a non-Christian worldview.
"Unknown thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of Queensland state school children are being placed into religious instruction contrary to their parents' clearly stated enrolment form advice. This is not only a serious breach of state law; it also contravenes Article 18.3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"These appalling circumstances must not be allowed to continue. It is most urgent that religious instruction in Queensland public schools be suspended immediately, pending a state-wide reallocation of participants strictly according to provided enrolment form placement instructions."