Primary school heads removed over religious row

Primary school heads removed over religious row September 16, 2013

It is good that appropriate action has been taken over this, bad that US style evangelistic churches and movements are springing up and gaining traction in the UK. Sheesh. From the BBC:

Senior teachers at a South Lanarkshire school have been removed following a parent outcry over the involvement of a US-based religious group.

Some parents at Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride have labelled the Church of Christ extremist.

South Lanarkshire Council has now redeployed the two officials who shared the head teacher post.

The authority also said it had launched “a full investigation into management practices at the school”.

Controversy over the Church of Christ’s involvement with Kirktonholme Primary was highlighted in national newspaper articles.

Some parents were reported to have been outraged that their children were given books at an assembly questioning evolution and highlighting the church’s own religious viewpoints.

The authority held a meeting with concerned parents on Tuesday, after which the decision was taken to redeploy Sandra McKenzie and Liz Mockus, the school’s two head teachers.

In a statement, South Lanarkshire’s education director Jim Gilhooly said: “As indicated to parents, a full investigation into the management practices within the school has been instigated.

“In order to assist with this, the current head teachers have been moved from the school and redeployed to other duties within education resources, with immediate effect.

“A temporary senior management team has been put in place.

“The council will continue to work with the parents to ensure that Kirktonholme Primary School now moves forward with educating and caring for the community’s children.”

Mr Gilhooly confirmed the changes at the school in a letter to parents on Thursday.

He told them that West Mains Church of Christ would no longer be given access to Kirktonholme or any other local schools.

The education director said the investigation would look at security at the school and the role of the parent council and school chaplaincy service.

In his letter to parents, Mr Gilhooly concluded: “In my discussions with the parent council, and during the larger parent meeting, it was clear that everyone was keen to see the school move on from the current situation.

“Hopefully these initial actions help to achieve this and I want to assure you that the safety and education of your children are paramount in all of our minds.

“Finally, please also be assured that I will continue to inform you of decisions relating to your school.”

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  • Peter

    So far, I’m not aware of this happening in Canada at least not in Ontario where I live. However, my tax dollars do support the Catholic and Christian schools which pisses me and other non-Catholic and non-Christian right off and there is nothing we can do about about. No politician is brave enough to stop funding these schools and tell them they must pay their own way.

  • Hello Jon.

    My problem with this is that I don’t buy this Secularist distinction between” religious” and “non-religious” as a ground for excluding certain things from the public sphere.

    To my mind we just need the criterion “presence of harm for the individual or society as a whole” to make responsible decisions about the tolerability of both religious and secular (in the original latin meaning) ideologies.

    Greetings from the continent.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    • If I set about indoctrinating, as headmaster, students in a school, with, say, Conservative Party political ideology, I would rightly be called out on it.

      When one cannot prove in any kind of empirical way one religion over another, then the only safe thing to do is remove religion from public schools in such an overtly indoctrinating fashion.

      Problem is in the UK, we still have a staggering number of voluntary aided faith schools.

      • Hey Jon.

        “When one cannot prove in any kind of empirical way one religion over
        another, then the only safe thing to do is remove religion from public
        schools in such an overtly indoctrinating fashion.”

        The problem is that we also cannot empirically prove that, say, deontological ethics is truer that utilitarian ethics, yet most people would agree that we ought to teach an objective morality to kids.

        Generally, I think that a headmaster (or public teacher of any kind) ought to recognize areas where there is no consensus between intelligent and rational people and never convey his own opinion without teaching as objectively as possible the opposite viewpoints.

        And this rule, if consistenly applied, would hinder all the abuses you rightly expose from happening without having to resort to the secularist identification of “religious” ideas.

        Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

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