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Focus on the Family kicked out of ACT schools

By johnboy - 31 October 2009 43

It may surprise many to learn that ACT schools have been letting in nutballs with agendas to take up valuable school time pushing their barrows.

But the ABC reports that the nutballs have gone too far this time:

Focus on the Family has been accused of vilifying homosexuality, and preaching religion to students without parental consent.

A spokesman for Education Minister Andrew Barr says the government launched the investigation after a complaint made by a parent at a Canberra high school.

A better world, one group of intolerant weirdoes at a time.

What’s Your opinion?


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43 Responses to
Focus on the Family kicked out of ACT schools
Zanzibert 10:40 am 02 Nov 09

I-filed said :

A few weeks ago the fundamentalist Christians in a large Commonwealth department sent around an invitation to a Christian festival to ALL STAFF – no response from the Secretary or Corporate shooting them down. Unfortunately, they are stacking the senior levels in divisions all over that particular department.

Was this an invitation to their department’s Christmas Party, or something more sinister?

shauno 9:25 pm 01 Nov 09

The rise of fundamentalist religions and its influence is a serious problem in this country more so in the US. Its got to the stage in the US where almost 50% of the population believes the Earth is only around 7000 years old. How and why the hell did western society start on this trip back to the stone age. As far as I’m concerned there should be no religious education/brain washing in government schools.

junkett 8:49 pm 01 Nov 09

Ahh religion…that wonderful dellusion that allows for insightful and valid discusizzzz, snort snore.

weeziepops 6:52 pm 01 Nov 09

I understand it was a parent who raised concerns about this. Says something for the quality of principals/teachers, perhaps.

I-filed 5:02 pm 01 Nov 09

Mind you, I think the reaction was considerably more muted when the Victorian Government decided to allow crackpot Steiner Schoolists to take over numerous primary schools in that state, wasn’t it? I’m talking hardcore nutter stuff with Steiner: no vaccinations, and keeping the children from reading till certain TEETH break through the gums. On balance, I think I’d prefer Christian drongo ideas in kids’ heads, to their health being put at risk by the Steinerites. One particular Steiner school in a different state had a doctor parent who offered to vaccinate all the kids at the school pro bono – having discovered that the school hadn’t passed on State Govt vaccination information to the parents months before. How irresponsible is that! I know this is fact because my sibling’s kid was at the school, and was one of the children whom the doctor did a vaccination rescue on …

Mike Crowther 2:38 pm 01 Nov 09

Skidbladnir has raised a very good question. How did this happen? Someone is accountable. I wonder if they’ll be held to be so? Surely even Andrew Barr wont wink and nod at this?

Pommy bastard 1:32 pm 01 Nov 09

I’ll certainly be wanting to know more about this, as my kid attends that school.

Slashor 1:27 pm 01 Nov 09

Most “fundies” I know don’t tend to care if you use birth control or not so I guess that doesn’t really matter. 😀

p1 11:12 am 01 Nov 09

All this talk about sex is making me feel a little frisky. But that’s OK, ’cause I have a married partner of the opposite sex. Just don’t tell the fundies we use birth control! 🙂

I-filed 11:07 am 01 Nov 09

A few weeks ago the fundamentalist Christians in a large Commonwealth department sent around an invitation to a Christian festival to ALL STAFF – no response from the Secretary or Corporate shooting them down. Unfortunately, they are stacking the senior levels in divisions all over that particular department.

A Noisy Noise Annoys 10:05 am 01 Nov 09

I bet Andrew Barr is currently conducting a witchhunt within DET trying to find out who approved this little fiasco.

Up The Duffy 1:28 am 01 Nov 09

Political correctness is the current new religion!

What relevance dose 2000, 1200 year old dogma have in today’s informed society?

Skidbladnir 8:52 pm 31 Oct 09

Organisations that do this give me the shits, because its both deceitful to attend a school under a ‘performance art’ pretext and then give them a dose of your religious moralising, unethical to tell teenagers that abstinence and sexual normality are the way to discover yourself, and whatever the organisation’s motivation, following the idea that total abstinence is a valid expectation for teenagers is just naive and idiotic (See bottom).

Also, religious education in the ACT is opt-in, not opt-out.
(IE: You elect for your kids to a private Catholic\Christian\Muslim\Pastafarian school, or you send them to a Government school which has religious studies as an opt-in choice.
ACT Department of Education policy on Religious Learning in Schools. (check out Section 4.3.6 re Opt-in.)

In NSW the simple answer to how they operate is that they’ve been given an accreditation by the Department of Education & Training in NSW to present a “No Apologies Impact Seminar” as part of the Performances for Schools program, under the guise of the Personal Development/Health/Physical Education component of NSW curriculum.
(Confirmed by NSW Dept of Education website)
But what isn’t clearly mentioned is that they have their accreditation as “performance art piece”.

According to the NSW Performances for Schools program website (Google cached version because the normal version has been temporarily set back to Under Contruction as a result of this incident and to avoid criticism):

The NSW Department of Education and Training is committed to developing children’s appreciation, enjoyment and participation in the arts in all its forms as part of their education. It acknowledges that only professional performers and practitioners practising their craft at a high level of educational and artistic competence can provide students with opportunities to experience live performances and presentations. To ensure the artistic and educational integrity of these performances and to meet its charter to protect the young people in its care, the Department of Education and Training strongly recommends that all schools accept only those performances that have been authorised to perform in schools and colleges through the Performances For Schools program.

Apparently they have access to 900 public schools in NSW as a result, and the organisation gets paid $450 by the NSW Department of Education each time they are invited to perform in a school.

By the way, here is a copy of the prootional flyer for the Seminar, which even though the seminar is claims to be “complimentary to the sexual health and enrichment programs” with topics including (but not limited to) pornography, the influence of the media, the consequences of pre-marital sex and how far is too far., includes starring phrases like ‘…significant cultural upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s led to widespread public questioning, if not outright abandonment of [modesty and sexual morality],
Abstinence until marriage is an achievable standard for our youth
and modules called “Abstinence Works Every Time”, and “Pre-marital Sex and
Consequences”.

Their leading quote on the pamphlet comes from Leslie Yeaton-Koepke, the former international spokeswoman of the US instance of Focus on the Family.

So:
1) Who thought it would be a good idea to lend a politically-motivated and religious terest group an audience of impressionable and sexually-curious minds, apparently without informed consent?
2) How had this group been operating without parental consent?
3) Which ACT Government funded schools did they operate in, and did the principals of these schools know?
4) Who invited them?
5) Did we pay for FOTF to come into the schools with their “performance art”?
6) Why are we teaching abstinence programs in schools?

Recent population-trend data in the US backs up the assertion that abstinence-only education fails to reduce teen pregnancy, and seems to encourage it.
The fastest-growing rates of teenage birth have been in highly religious, Federal-abstinence-funding recipient states, but the increase started happening _after_ they began running abstinence programs under Georgey Bush back in 2000.

Abstinence-only programs do not delay the time when the average participant first has sex, does not decrease the numbers of teenagers or adults having premarital sex, does not decrease the frequency at which teenagers or adults engage in premarital sex, but only significantly reduces the populational incidence of choosing to utilise any method of birth control.

PS: Whats the inherent difference between your using a “Christian Activists” tag on this thread, but not on CTFM’s threads?
(Conversely, why no Bigots, Fundamentalists, or even a Sneaky Cunts tags on this one?)

54-11 8:27 pm 31 Oct 09

I can’t understand how ACT Education would let fundies of any persuasion have air space in our schools.

Our kids need to be exposed to a relatively wide selection of views, but this needs to be done within the boundaries of an education program, one where the context is clearly explained, and one where students are able to express contrary views.

None of that appears to have happened in this case, based on the reports in the CT and ABC.

In this case, I hope Barr goes all the way to ensure that proper education standards are met in the future.

toriness 5:56 pm 31 Oct 09

no place for this in schools – if parents are hell bent on warping the minds of their children, let them drag them along to some church or cult on their own time. better still let your children make up their own minds when they are old enough to do so!

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