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Religious Instruction in State Schools.

Should religious instruction be permitted in New Zealand State Schools?

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The vote is already over! It ended on Wednesday, 30.April 2014 (00:00).

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St Heliers School in Auckland has moved its religious instruction course to outside of school hours after two parents filed separate complaints to the Human Rights Commission and a third parent made a formal complaint to the school. The parents said the Christian-based lessons discriminated against non-Christian families, and should not be part of a secular school programme in a multicultural society.

Read more: St Heliers Moves Religious Instruciton Out

The Secular Education Network (SEN) will be taking our message to the wider community in a nation wide television campaign. We are calling on our supporters to help us in two ways.

If you are an animator or know one that may be able to help us we would like to hear from you. We plan to make a thirty second animation.  We have secured funding for the advert production, although if possible we would like to engage a SEN supporter for this work.

We are calling on all our supporters to donate money to air our campaign. Every dollar donated will be used to secure airtime on national television to run our adverts. Without the support of those who believe we should respect freedom of religion in New Zealand we will not be able to air our adverts. Please use the Donation Function on this page to contribute to this campaign.

Read more: Religion in Schools TV Campaign

Note: The following article has been censored in order to avoid identifying individuals. The article was originally removed after receiving a request from the Human Rights Commission. We are now removing names to protect the privacy of individuals. Other than this the letter is published as provided. It obviously represents a single point of view. We do not present this as fact.

I’m an Auckland secondary school teacher who has had to endure the very worst treatment by both XXXX and XXXX.

In February 2010, I enquired at our staff briefing if non-Christians had to attend the Powhiri? The response from XXXX was that attendance was compulsory and further more, that I’d upset several Maori on the staff. One Maori staff member verbally abused me in front of the whole staff. I asked XXXX to intervene, but she felt that I deserved what had eventuated.


Read more: Letter from a Teacher

A parent is complaining to the Human Rights Commission about the Religious Instruction lessons provided for his son's class at St Heliers School in East Auckland. Roy Warren says his ultimate aim would be to eliminate Religious Instruction from his son's school entirely, but the HRC hearing, set down to hear his complaint on January 23, is a mediation process so he is willing to consider other options.
His son is five years old and was in his first year of school last year. Mr Warren says he is complaining on the basis of his ethical belief (or lack of a religious belief). His complaint is that he doesn't want his child to be exposed to religious education, especially in his own classroom or to be taken away from his friends to avoid it. His child would be left feeling alienated from his classmates and wondering what he had done wrong.

Read more: Complaint against St Heliers School

On Friday February 22, 2013, Peter Harrison gave the following speech to the Education and Science Select Committee.

Today I am here to represent Rationalists and Humanists. I am here to promote evidence based policy development. I am here to participate in our democracy. As rationalists we agree with Peter Gluckman when he said:

Many policies developed in isolation from the available evidence, or initiated and continued in the absence of monitoring and formal evaluation of impact and effectiveness, may well be ineffective in meeting their primary or secondary policy objectives and in some cases may even have unknown and unexpected adverse consequences.

Our association strongly supports and education system that is inclusive of all children, respects freedom of belief and fosters critical and innovative thinking. Our vision is of an education system that is both capable of giving our children the tools they need to meet a technological future and the foundational values that will support a compassionate and humane society.


Read more: Education Select Committee Presentation

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