Focus on the Family kicked out of ACT schools

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.


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43 Responses to Focus on the Family kicked out of ACT schools
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Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 1:18 pm 09 Dec 09

Well I finally heard back from the school, after writing and asking them what the outcome was;

Good morning

There was a full investigation conducted by the Department. Andrew Barr addressed each of the allegations and presented a list of findings and recommendations. The date that this occurred in the Assembly was Thursday November 19. You should be able to access his statement through the Assembly.

Regards,

Or in other words; “Here go find out for yourself.

So I did.

http://www.andrewbarr.com.au/statement-investigation-investigation-seminar-conducted-focus-family

Findings

1. There is no indication that the seminars conducted at Canberra High School were inconsistent with the provisions of the Discrimination Act 1991 (ACT) or the ACT Department of Education and Training Providing Safe Schools P-12 or Religious Education in ACT Government Schools policies.

2. It is unlikely that students would have been influenced to the extent that they would have formed the impressions stated in the complainants’ letter.

3. A rigorous process of selection of this presenter was not undertaken by Canberra High School.

4. The Focus on the Family seminars were not part of an educational program at Canberra High School.

Recommendations

1. The Department develop a quality assurance process that accredits and approves outside organisations and individuals prior to their involvement with schools.

2. That schools be required to have parental approval prior to a student attending any event conducted by a non-government organisation or individual.

3. That schools develop more rigorous selection processes when accessing the services of outside organisations or individuals.

4. That schools vet all content before an outside organisation or individual presents to students, and that schools have appropriate preparation for students prior to presentations and appropriate follow up lessons.

5. That schools evaluate and seek feedback from students and teachers after seminars/ performances that have been presented by non-school staff to address any student issues or concerns.

p1 p1 1:17 pm 25 Nov 09

to be told that homosexuality was equitable with bestiality and other disgusting views that these religious perverts were promoting could be very damaging to a young persons psych.

Homosexual activity is totally legal and socially acceptable. Are these fundies saying Bestiality should be too?

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 10:48 am 25 Nov 09

@Paul:
Why leave discussion of the seminar to those who attended (although as a taxpayer I -did- apparently pay for these students to attend) when the seminars, course materials, homework, and discussion questions are available online?

But just as I wouldn’t invite the local Labor branch Secretary to a SOSE class and talk about the economics of organised labour, why do it for religious groups coming into schools to pass social judgement on your kids and push for ineffectual religious\social programs under the guise of ‘health education’?

@PB, Deezagood, and Georgesgenitals:
In every other state in the country where they have presented these seminars (except NSW where it can be classed as ‘curricular’ since its performance art), permission slips are required.
Those permission slips mention that its a Christian-based program, with a focus on Christian teachings, and treat it as opt-in rather than opt-out.
The ACT seems to be another exception, where an off-curriculum program promoted by the local branch of a multinational right-wing religious organisation, with its own international media company and political lobby groups could be run in schools without permission slips or parental notification.

Right Wing Watch on FOF’s US parent company and lobbyist wing parareligious organisation and ‘research’ publisher
Example permission slip from a QLDschool

deezagood deezagood 8:56 pm 24 Nov 09

I totally agree PB. Parents need to know what their kids are being subjected to at school, if only so that they can discuss it later.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 7:45 pm 24 Nov 09

I put in a complaint to the school following reading this here, thanks for the heads up Johnboy.

I received a stock reply;

I understand that your daughter attended a session called “No Apologies” on Monday 26 October which was attended by Year 9 students. There have been concerns raised by another parent and the Department is currently conducting an investigation about the concerns raised. I have forwarded your e-mail.

After the investigation, the Department will forward the findings to the school.

Regards,

I’m still awaiting further information.

georgesgenitals said :

It’s very easy to whip up a frenzy when religion was involved. Could it be that it was just an alternate viewpoint being presented?

true, but not just an “alternate” viewpoint. My daughter is at a young an vulnerable age. To be told that homosexuality was equitable with bestiality and other disgusting views that these religious perverts were promoting could be very damaging to a young persons psych.

The KKK have an “alternate view” should they be allowed to promote it in schools?

If the school wants religious nutbags to have access to the children in order to promote their “viewpoint” they should request the parents permission first. They do it when my daughter goes abseiling or canoeing, they should have done it here. The answer would have been brief, but colourful. (Unless they were prepared to let me attend also. )

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:07 pm 24 Nov 09

‘IS’ involved, that is…

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 7:07 pm 24 Nov 09

Paul RT said :

I take it then Skidbladnir that you attended the presentation?

If not, the public (and you) have also speculated and condemned without any empirical evidence :0)

It’s very easy to whip up a frenzy when religion was involved. Could it be that it was just an alternate viewpoint being presented?

deezagood deezagood 6:15 pm 24 Nov 09

I feel the same way about my daughters being forced to ‘celebrate’ rugby league teams when they visit their primary school. I would definately like an ‘opt out’ option for those visits. I really don’t want my kids growing up believing that sporting teams or individuals are ‘heros’ of any kind. Yes – I am very un-Australian in this regard.

I make this point only because I believe that ANY event at public schools, provided by an external group, should have an opt in/opt out clause, because all parents have different values, ideals, beliefs etc… The event in question should be clearly outlined to parents, so that they can make an informed choice. I really hate my kids being exposed to things that I don’t believe in/agree with at their public school.

Paul RT Paul RT 5:36 pm 24 Nov 09

I take it then Skidbladnir that you attended the presentation?

If not, the public (and you) have also speculated and condemned without any empirical evidence :0)

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 9:21 pm 23 Nov 09

Paul:
I don’t support a right-wing organisation like Focus on the Family being given any place in the notionally secular education system I pay for, (especially if some idiot at DET invited them into classrooms and even paid them for their efforts), nor do I support empirically ineffective abstinence education to be preached to students by the Department.

Yes some elements and impressions of the complaint were apparently unfounded, but its still not an “Everything was fine, no need to worry” (hence further recommendations) from Minister Barr.
And in the absence of anything actionable in that everybody involved treated the complaint as a secret, the public speculated.

Paul RT Paul RT 7:38 pm 23 Nov 09

Maybe most of the previous bloggers on this site should have waited for the results of enquiry into this investigation.

See http://www.andrewbarr.com.au/statement-investigation-investigation-seminar-conducted-focus-family for Andrew Barr’s findings.

It’s always easier to criticise before getting the facts!

The truth is that there was ONE complaint and most of the “impressions” if not all were unfounded.

Don’t let the facts ruin the opportunity for a good bagging though!

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 3:45 pm 04 Nov 09

The State educating you in specific religious practice\worship (outside a comparative religion context) is a major breach of both State secularity and citizen freedom of religion.
(And is a breach of the ACT Education Act 2004 in any case)
Ignoring such a complaint would be a terrible idea, especially when the ACT has a specific law granting protection from state interference to the freedoms of thought and consicence when dealing with public administrative authorities.

Besides, according to the ABC, Focus on the Family themselves admit that they have done this in five other schools before anyone noticed, so it potentially isn’t a one-off breach.

rob68 rob68 2:33 pm 04 Nov 09

Whether it is right, wrong, lunacy or otherwise, I feel that the real issue here is the fact that a government inquiry can be launched by one parental complaint. I am curious to see if I can get a government inquiry launched.. all I need to do is think up the complaint!

imhotep imhotep 5:51 pm 03 Nov 09

I-filed said :

imhotep – please know your facts before you post. Clare Holland House is a superb institution – until now. It is not currently owned by Catholic nuns. It is currently secular. Our ludicrous government plans to sell it to the Catholic Church.

Well, remaining OT and staying out of the ‘who owns what debate’, the place is run by ‘The Little Company of Mary’. Gee, they sound like the ‘nuns’ you were taking a cheap swipe at.

It’s a tough gig looking after dying people. I’d just as soon be looked after by them as by some bureaucrat from ACT Health.

I-filed I-filed 5:17 pm 03 Nov 09

imhotep said :

I-filed said :

Folks, if you think it’s bad having the fundies teaching your kids religion, imagine having Catholic nuns hovering over you at Clare Holland House as you see out your days. Shiver!

Oh really? I am one of those sad people who read the funeral notices in the Canberra Times (hey, it’s the most interesting bit!) One thing that has struck me is the number of dead people who have asked that donations (in lieu of flowers) to be made to Clare Holland House.

Perhaps those evil nuns have used some weird Catholic voodoo on these people?

Or perhaps they realise that (for many) Clare Holland House is a better place to die than some sterile hospital ward.

.

imhotep – please know your facts before you post. Clare Holland House is a superb institution – until now. It is not currently owned by Catholic nuns. It is currently secular. Our ludicrous government plans to sell it to the Catholic Church.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 3:01 pm 03 Nov 09

I find it strange that in a thread about:
the failure of at least Government school to remain secular (ie: a potential breach of the Education Act 2004),
potential failures of school management by principals,
and Department of Education-endorsed school visitors to preach ideas that vilify the Education Minister…
you’re talking evolution and riding out hobby horses instead of remaining on topic.

imhotep imhotep 11:27 am 03 Nov 09

I-filed said :

Folks, if you think it’s bad having the fundies teaching your kids religion, imagine having Catholic nuns hovering over you at Clare Holland House as you see out your days. Shiver!

Oh really? I am one of those sad people who read the funeral notices in the Canberra Times (hey, it’s the most interesting bit!) One thing that has struck me is the number of dead people who have asked that donations (in lieu of flowers) to be made to Clare Holland House.

Perhaps those evil nuns have used some weird Catholic voodoo on these people?

Or perhaps they realise that (for many) Clare Holland House is a better place to die than some sterile hospital ward.

.

I-filed I-filed 10:03 am 03 Nov 09

Folks, if you think it’s bad having the fundies teaching your kids religion, imagine having Catholic nuns hovering over you at Clare Holland House as you see out your days. Shiver!

shauno shauno 4:35 am 03 Nov 09

I haven’t got the book with me but I’m sure I read it in the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, well worth a read and the statistic really surprised me as well. Another good one by him is The Ancestors Tale, it explains evolution in great detail but in laymans terms. Sort of like in the way A Brief History of Time by Hawking was written explaining Astro Physics for layman haha. If more Children were introduced to books like that instead of bibles or Korans we would be a lot better off.

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 8:20 pm 02 Nov 09

So the principal have no principle ? hmmmmm

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