Bible class stance dismays father – NZ Herald

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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. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The public school placed a 7-year-old girl in a “naughty corner” when her parents wanted her taken out of religious studies.

A couple who withdrew their daughter from a school class due to Bible were appalled to find her alone in a “naughty corner” of the classroom with a book during the 35-minute lesson.

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

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

When he arrived one day to check on her, he found her in the corner where kids are sent to be naughty.

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

“Also keep in mind that she is within earshot of her friends singing, doing fun activities and hearing stories.”

He said his daughter had “promised not to be mean anymore” when she returned home after one of the unsubscribe sessions.

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

“We went to take a look and realized it was run by very devout Christians.”

He said that although the school asked parents for permission for their children to learn the values ​​in action, he said it was not clear until he pressed the principal and the council. previous directors who agreed that it was “religious instruction”.

This 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% of public schools offer Bible studies with around 2,000 untrained volunteer teachers from outside the school.

Lessons must not take place during school hours, but schools can circumvent the law by “closing” the classroom for the duration of studies, which usually last up to 30 minutes.

The McClintocks complained to the ombudsman, saying the school is not meeting instructional hour requirements because of the time allotted for the Bible course of study.

Mr McClintock now takes Violet out of the corner of the classroom once a week for a walk while values ​​in action are taught.

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

The rules

*A public school can choose whether or not to include religious lessons in its curriculum.
*School boards are not required to inform parents of their choice to include religion classes, but most schools discuss the matter with parents.
*A parent can ask their child to “withdraw” from lessons.
*It is the responsibility of the school board to find an alternative arrangement for students who withdraw.
*No other religious instruction can take place in a secular school.

The Education Act 1964

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