Cou­ple take son out of school in row over re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion

Bray People - - News - Deborah COLE­MAN

A SOUTH Wick­low cou­ple say they have been left with no op­tion but to keep their four-yearold son home from school due to con­flict­ing opin­ions about how re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion is taught there.

Par­ents Alma Carey-Zun­gia and Ken Kier­nan who do not wish their son to re­ceive any Catholic re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion while at school se­lected An­nacurra N.S. last year af­ter they were as­sured that this was not a prob­lem.

‘The only op­tions in our area were Catholic schools so we met with three sep­a­rate schools and felt that An­nacurra N.S. was the one we felt most as­sured by. The prin­ci­pal went out of his way to let us

know this was not a prob­lem and was very re­as­sur­ing,’ ex­plained Ms. Carey-Zu­niga.

Af­ter a short time the cou­ple no­ticed their son talk­ing a lot about Je­sus and they raised their con­cerns with the school.

‘We were told that our son would not have to re­ceive ‘for­mal’ re­li­gious teach­ing but that ‘in­for­mal’ teach­ing was done through­out the day. The school agreed to resched­ule the for­mal class to the end of the day so that we could pick our son up early but we were told there was no way to avoid the in­for­mal as­pect.’

The cou­ple say they have no prob­lem with the school’s ethos or its teach­ing of re­li­gious ed­u­ca­tion but be­lieve their son should have the right not to re­ceive it.

‘We feel pres­surised by the school’s re­sponse and that proper guide­lines should be in place to help deal with this. ‘We don’t feel comfortable send­ing our son back un­til

the mat­ter is re­solved and he has now been at home for over two months.’ Ms. Carey-Zu­niga and Mr. Kieran re­moved their son from school tem­po­rar­ily un­til the mat­ter was re­solved to their sat­is­fac­tion.

They in­formed the school of their de­ci­sion and re­quested a meet­ing and re­ceived a let­ter of re­sponse di­rect­ing them to the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion and Wel­fare Board which deals with cases where chil­dren are not at­tend­ing school on an on­go­ing ba­sis.

The Board’s re­sponse was that it has no le­gal au­thor­ity to get in­volved in the mat­ter.

‘The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion in­formed the cou­ple that this is an is­sue which can be dealt with on a lo­cal level but we can­not even get a meet­ing. We were told lo­cally that there is noth­ing more the school can do. We feel that our con­cerns are not be­ing taken se­ri­ously and that the school would pre­fer if we moved our son some­where else,’ they said.

Alma Carey-Zu­niga and Ken Kier­nan from Aughrim.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.