re and schooling

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McCullock
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re and schooling

Post by McCullock » 20 Jan 2011, 23:45

Hi,
I was wondering if any one has ever had a problem with re teachers within primary schools, as my youngest son who is in year 6, was asked to draw a religious symbol, he therefore drew a pentagram a symbol his mother wears around her neck every day, he was then told that it was totaly inapropriate and must rub it out as it offended her oun christian beliefs.
This I find unaceptable, then recently it has come to light that she also makes all three of my children at this school turn their shirt collars up so that no flesh is showing as this is an afront, and asked my youngest daughter to leave the class as she did not believe in the christian god and when she was asked to draw god, she asked which one.
I was wondering if anyone knows the correct way in which to address the school on this situation as this is something I have never came across before, and don't want to come across as anti-christian as I am a firm believer that all individual beliefs and faiths should be respected, but I do think that this particular teacher is enforcing her beliefs on children and any thing else is not aceptable, any ideas

Yours In Truth
Mccullock

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Bracken
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Bracken » 21 Jan 2011, 00:05

What country are you in, McCullock?
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McCullock
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Re: re and schooling

Post by McCullock » 21 Jan 2011, 00:23

Bracken wrote:What country are you in, McCullock?
I'm in Somerset England

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Re: re and schooling

Post by Bracken » 21 Jan 2011, 00:49

Well then in that case, you could just go and ask her what her thinking is on the subject. You sound like a reasonable guy. There's no anger in your opening post. Maybe you could explain to her that as you and your Mrs are pagans your kids have a more polytheistic viewpoint and so it is confusing for them to be told that is wrong (because really she is telling them that there is something wrong with what you and your wife have said.)

A diplomatic little chat will probably sort it out. Primary teachers tend to be pretty groovy as they deal with little kids all day. :D Maybe she really doesn't know anything about paganism, rather than being actively against it. If she does get her knickers in a twist then you've got grounds to take it further if you need to, but I'd check all the facts first.

I learnt to step very carefully with teachers when my kids were in primary school, mainly because I felt that my children were too young to have made up their mind on these complex issues. I never wanted them to be singled out as the pagan kids.

A little story:

At after school club one year a teacher told the kids that they wouldn't be celebrating 'Halloween' as it wasn't "a proper religion". My kids did go to a Christian primary school, but it was a groovy school and we live in a very multicultural area so all faiths are catered for automatically. I felt that there was some confusion in what the teacher had said, so I contacted the Pagan Federation with the suggestion that they might want to send some educational material out to the school. I felt that the school would be interested to hear about that sort of thing.

Well, the Pagan Federation sent the school a really heavy e-mail, demanding that they explain the school's policy on inclusion. I was mortified. I had visions of my little ones being catered for with a Samhuinn ritual cobbled together in the school hall in the full light of day by people who didn't know what they were doing. :-) I went to see the head teacher to explain that my intention had been to provide the school with something they might find interesting. And I mailed the PF back to tell them to lighten up a bit.

I hope that I've brought my children up to be open minded about spirituality rather than bringing them up to "be druids". It is after all up to them what they believe ultimately.

I hope this situation doesn't cause you any problems, but if you need to talk about it I'm sure there are heaps of people here with opinions.
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Huathe » 21 Jan 2011, 16:39

McCullock wrote:Hi,
I was wondering if any one has ever had a problem with re teachers within primary schools, as my youngest son who is in year 6, was asked to draw a religious symbol, he therefore drew a pentagram a symbol his mother wears around her neck every day, he was then told that it was totaly inapropriate and must rub it out as it offended her oun christian beliefs.
This I find unaceptable, then recently it has come to light that she also makes all three of my children at this school turn their shirt collars up so that no flesh is showing as this is an afront, and asked my youngest daughter to leave the class as she did not believe in the christian god and when she was asked to draw god, she asked which one.
I was wondering if anyone knows the correct way in which to address the school on this situation as this is something I have never came across before, and don't want to come across as anti-christian as I am a firm believer that all individual beliefs and faiths should be respected, but I do think that this particular teacher is enforcing her beliefs on children and any thing else is not aceptable, any ideas

Yours In Truth
Mccullock

McCullock,

The point here is that the teacher asked the student to draw a religious symbol. This of course could be one of any world religion. If she wanted a Christian religious symbol, she should have specified that.

This teacher is making one mistake that many Christians often make. That is forcing their beliefs on others and not respecting the beliefs and being overly judgemental of others. By being this way they only turn those people off from Christianity. I see it a lot and being Christian myself I am often prejudged by others of different faiths as " oh, he's a Christian..ugh " because of people like this. Even though I am open minded and respectful of others faiths. There is nothing wrong with a Christian, pagan or other religion promoting their faith but it should always be with respect and be never forceful. I do think the teacher was out of line here. Have you went to talk personally to her?

James
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Re: re and schooling

Post by starbird » 21 Jan 2011, 18:00

Greetings McCullock,
I know a little on this as I went into teacher training as an R.E. teacher, although didn't finish it becasue I hated it!
Anyway it seems your unfortunate children have a very old fashioned style teacher, indeed most R.E. teacher nowadays are broad minded and have to be by the very nature of the subject (Druidry being on the cirriculum in secondary schools if wanted). If you need to take this further I would suggest writing to your childs head of dept. or Headteacher as this should not be taking place, it's a bit naughty to be honest! Then an interview can be set up and hopefully the issue settled.( with the teacher hopefully having to spend all lesson facing the wall with the pupils laughing for punishment )!
I hope it doesn't come to this and sure it will not, but I think R.E. is one of the only subjects/classes in which you can legally withdraw your children from.
However as Bracken mentions I'd clarify the facts before putting your case forward.

Starbird

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Re: re and schooling

Post by Bracken » 21 Jan 2011, 23:24

a bit naughty
:-) That's just you. X
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Re: re and schooling

Post by inis » 21 Jan 2011, 23:58

McCullock wrote: then recently it has come to light that she also makes all three of my children at this school turn their shirt collars up so that no flesh is showing as this is an afront
:o
What kind of school is this? a public school? or is it a Christian (maybe catholic) school? if this was the case, maybe I could understand this policy... but at a public school I don't think that anybody should see shirt collars (which are normally worn turned down, aren't they?) as an offense or affront! It makes me even think... how perverted can the mind of an adult be, if something as normal as shirt collars of little children are considered as a question of morality?!? I mean, we're not talking about a deep decollete and a bare midriff shirt, are we?
"flesh" is considered as something normal and natural amongst most Druids, and a lot of childrens' psychologists will tell you that a relaxed view on the human body will help to develop a healthy sexuality in later life, whereas an exaggerated prudery could possibly cause damages.

Sorry for my ranting about that - but apart from the discussion about religion and religious symbols (which might eventually be everybody's own business) no teacher should run the risk of damaging his or her pupils' minds and souls. If you are going to talk to the headmaster, I would in your situation definitely ask about the school's policy concerning "proper and decent clothing"...

best wishes,
inis (whose children are too small yet for school - but already I'm NOT looking forward to quarreling with stupid teachers...)
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Ffenics Y Feudwy » 29 Jul 2011, 14:18

I totally understand this thread. My ex partner (who wasn't the father of either of my children) and I would involve them in all our rituals, mostly because we couldn't get a sitter, but I was becoming increasingly annoyed at being dragged about the city with a young daughter and a toddler all hours of the day. I've always tried to involve my daughters in my path. My eldest (Steph) who is 11 in September has identified with being a pagan since she was about 7. However my youngest (Kirsty) who is 6, lives mostly with her dad, attends school 40 miles away. A custody battle during financial hardship plus her not being returned to my home for three months until signed a document, forced me to agree to her father's wishes, therefore I only see her at weekends. Kirsty's Dad never showed a religious leaning when we were together, so I'm sure he won't force anything upon her.

Still, it's very common place in UK schools to automatically teach Christianity to our children. According to the 2001 census, Out of 57.1 million people living in the UK, 71.8%, roughly 41 million, are Christian, 8.6 million people (15.1%) held atheist views, 4.4 million (7.8%) simply did not state a religion, while only 160k (0.3%) ticked the other religion box. 2.8% of the population were Muslim but held 51.9% of the non-Christian religion group.

In 2000, there were 12.1 million children aged under 16 in the UK. In 2001, 1/3 of the minority ethnic population were aged under 16. Also, Sikh, Muslim and Hindu households are more likely to house more than one family. In fact, 7% of all households in Britain in 2001.

My point for posting all these figures is that it is obvious that there are a few million children in the UK being taught through a Christian medium when their families aren't Christian. If this is done CORRECTLY, then it shouldn't be a problem, but in a lot of schools, it isn't being done correctly so it is a problem, for any non Christian.

At the beginning of 2010, My ex partner (quite a well known druid in our circles) talked me into pulling my eldest out of her school to home school her as he believed they were forcing her to believe stuff. I was unsure as I was the ONLY one working (30 hours a week) and I wouldn't be there to oversee this little project of his. I agreed anyway, although it went against my judgement and she was removed at Easter break that year. She missed school badly. On the days I was working, I would get told they'd gone for a walk - but I discovered that this was a rare thing as my ex became quickly angered by her. Most days I'd come home and she'd be in her room as a punishment or she'd been smacked and sent to her room.

Her tutoring involved writing essays on her children's novels, and trying to remember stuff that was quite impossible for her. She often was made to write lines like they used to do at secondary school, and at one time she was made to write two sheets of A4 - that's 4 sides - of "I must show more respect to *dad* and not be cheeky." Two sides for an 11-16 year old in secondary school was one thing, but four sides for a nine year old? I stepped in and I'd let her off. My poor daughter had turned from a stubborn 6 year old to a 10 year old that was constantly punished.

Oh they had their good days, but they were few and far between. I'd even have texts while I was at work stating I should drop everything and come home as she was being difficult. He had vision, but no discipline to carry it out. Not discipline for my daughter (she had way more of her fair share) but discipline for himself. She'd go days - even weeks - without learning something new, or even just being in the same room as him as she was constantly ostracised and sent to her room to read a book or watch dvd's so he could spend time "networking" online or playing World of Warcraft.

She was only removed for that one term, as he decided it was too much for him to handle (I didn't say "I told you so" but I really wanted to) and she returned to the same school with open arms in the following September. What REALLY annoyed me the most, was the fact that it was ME who had researched alternative RE teaching, not him, which was the main argument he'd used for her withdrawal, and he never once asked for my research or notes. If you're not going to do a job properly, why convince others you can do said job and just be lazy about it? (oh dear this has turned into a rant - I swear it wasn't meant to be!)

My point is that I should have stepped up and suggested simply supplimenting her schooling from home. She's an incredibly bright pupil, reading and maths are her best subjects. I'm not sure she remembers every ritual she's been involved in, but I'm sure it's shaped who she is today. Unfortunately, she's a bit of a push over as over the years, she's let others be mean to her, it's another wound I have to heal, along with my own, But this samhain, I'm planning to do something really nice with her and teach her more about my beliefs. If she's interested, that is.
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Reyna » 29 Jul 2011, 16:48

Hi everyone,

I'm in the US (so kinda dumb) but what does RE stand for?
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Bracken » 29 Jul 2011, 19:30

Religious Education.
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Reyna » 29 Jul 2011, 21:24

Is that a class or a type of school?

Sounds interesting. :)
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Re: re and schooling

Post by Ffenics Y Feudwy » 30 Jul 2011, 00:13

it's a subject. Here in edinburgh, scotland, they call it RME - Religious and Moral Education, which I think is more apt. :)
The Weird has a name and refuses to be called Betty.

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible. I passed this gem onto my children!

To pronounce "LL" in welsh - pretend you're an angry cat or a vampire and force air along both sides of your tongue as you aspirate!

My Poetry eBook Free download 'cause I'm a nice person!

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Re: re and schooling

Post by Reyna » 30 Jul 2011, 05:06

Cool. I went to a private Christian school for a couple grades and we had Bible class, then public school for the rest and no religious subjects were taught. That's interesting that the teacher said a pentagram was wrong-I wonder what would have happened if he'd drawn a Jewish star or other religious symbol.

By the way-I applaud all you parents teaching your kids your paths. Hubby and I are so confused on what to do we just haven't done anything (he's a Christian that rarely goes to church, I'm eclectic pagan-thankfully kiddo is only a year old. Hopefully we'll have it figured out before she starts asking questions.)
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