FIRIS CLAIMS VICTORY!
August 21, 2015

Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino has announced that Special Religious Instruction (SRI) will be removed from school hours in 2016. SRI will be taken out of class-time and treated as an elective.

Instead, children in Victorian public schools will be taught about the major religions which make up our multicultural community, together with secular humanism and ethics – by class teachers as part of the official curriculum.

This is the prize we have been working for since FIRIS formed in 2011. And today the dream is a reality! FIRIS is grateful to the thousands of parent supporters. CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!

AIMS OF FIRIS

  • Maintain an inclusive school curriculum that does not require any student to withdraw from class on account of different religious beliefs, or none.
  • Formally cease the practice of volunteer-run Religious Instruction (SRI/SRE) during school hours.
  • Follow an objective, fair and balanced comparative syllabus for education about religions and beliefs.
  • Treat all religious organisations who wish to use the school facilities outside of the school day with transparent and equitable policies.

FIRIS is a parent-driven grassroots effort.  

More:

 

The main discussion between supporters is on our Facebook Page. Read the recent discussions and remember to LIKE us!

Fairness In Religions In School

Yesterday, there was a very informative article in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH detailing how the Anglican Diocese of Sydney's advice to married women about matters of sexual relations is similar to the notorious pick-up-artists and men's groups like the "Return of Kings", which advocates for "legal rape". As we read the examples listed in the article, we couldn't help notice how similar they were to the messages being taught to students in SRE. This SRE content has been declared harmful and of great concern by professionals around the country. Despite being fully briefed, to date, the NSW government has taken NO ACTION to alert schools about this concerning content, or taken steps to ensure that these sorts of lessons will not be taught in NSW public schools - by ANY of the hundreds of SRE providers currently operating. They have confirmed this in writing. Below are just some examples of content, which specifically affects women. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/lets-not-forget-there-are-prorapists-already-living-in-australia/news-story/679e3d84b20c355375870dad10723c0b ... See MoreSee Less

2 days ago

Stuart HumeWhat a bunch of shite. Parents should definitely be made aware of the content of any SRE but especially stuff like this.2 days ago

Heike ReichI wonder if they realise how truly weird this sounds to people who aren't into their religion.2 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolHere's another one -2 days ago

Julia EmOh, wow! Menstruation is a reminder that we are sinful? This is seriously messed up.2 days ago

Lara SullivanThis is truly appalling2 days ago

Alison CourticeObsessed. With. Sex.2 days ago

Aly Ann WareAny time I think I shouldn't have walked away, I read shit like this and remember why I left. So glad I did. It's all poison right there.2 days ago

Heather SmythReligion. At. Work.2 days ago

Clive R. BondYes, and the church allows its pedophiles to stay safe.2 days ago

David BradleyAnd then in the middle of this dangerous ignorance they write "To the feminist movement, the use and abuse of the individual female body is blamed, at least in part, on church attitudes." Irony? Isn't that something women do after they've brought the washing in?1 day ago

Lexi WhiteAnd that right there is why why my children will never attend SRE. Vile. Women talk too much? Screw who ever wrote that - science proves you wrong.1 day ago

Trish LewisThe rendezvous article referred to does not say the AMS said rape in marriage is allowable. It says the AMS said within a marriage relationship sex should not be withheld. Marriage is designed to represent the close, intimate relationship God has with his people, the church. Sex is the most intimate way two people can relate to each other. This is why Christians believe it is reserved for marriage, rather than the misheld believe that Christians just want to spoil other people's fun.1 day ago

Trish LewisAlso, why is it that FIRIS never makes fun of other mainstream religious beliefs? If you're all about fairness shouldn't you pick on everyone the same.1 day ago

Stephen PearceTrish Lewis, the difference between FIRIS and your mob is that they base their arguments on facts, however inconvenient that may be to your position. I know, "for a fact" that they research and double check before making any statement on SRI or its materials and post examples. FIRIS never makes fun of religious beliefs mainstream or otherwise. What"s more they actually encourage GRE which is in my view taking religious beliefs seriously. In "fact" they discipline me because I do make fun of your beliefs motivated by the harm they cause to real people! So the burden of proof rests with you Trish. Show me where FIRIS makes fun of religious beliefs or apologise for telling lies. I believe your sect has a commandment about not being a false witness. What price integrity Trish?1 day ago

Karin DiamondExpose children to this and it is abuse. Where are the police?21 hours ago

Fairness In Religions In School

First school to start us off for 2016. We learned today from parents at Auburn Sth PS that SRI delivered by ACCESS Ministries will not return for 2016. This school is where the fight against SRI began. Scott Hedges, the father who founded FIRIS in 2011 was shocked and outraged in 2009 when his daughter started prep at this school and he signed up for SRI. His daughter started coming home, asking about God, including if Jesus watches her on the toilet. Auburn Sth, in the conservative inner East of Melbourne has remained loyal to SRI over the years, despite just 23% participation recorded in 2015. This school has also had a Jewish SRI program for many years and although ACCESS have left the building, UJEB will be offering their class at lunchtimes. "Special Religious Instruction As per Department of Education and Training (DET) guidelines, Religious instruction can no longer be offered during class time. UJEB will be offering a lunchtime Judaism program (see attached flier). Please register your interest via the office to collect the DET required consent form. The change in policy means that Access Ministries are not in a position to offer Christian Religious instruction in 2016." Which is completely permissible in the new guidelines. HOWEVER ... what is NOT permissible is using snacks and other enticements to attract children to the classes. UJEB are offering snacks in their lunchtime classes and this is in violation of Clause 12 (2) in the MD145 guidelines, which state - "A principal must ensure that an accredited and approved instructor delivering special religious instruction in the school does not: (a) provide or offer to students who attend special religious instruction any enticement, reward or other benefit of a tangible nature". The SRI promotion flyer being used by UJEB is offering snacks to the kids to make it more attractive - "Snacks will be provided at the end of the class". (see image below) We know the SRE providers in NSW use food and drinks to help attract students into their lunchtime clubs. We will be contacting the DET to alert them to UJEB's breach of the rules. ... See MoreSee Less

3 days ago

Lauren ElvinInteresting. A few questions this raises for me: If the class is in the library, does that mean the library is closed to other students for the duration of the sessions? At my primary school the library was a wet weather / air-conditioned alternative to the playground and kids would be flowing in and out freely. Also, is there a teacher on duty in the library? Ours were always run by adjunct (non teaching) staff or by parent volunteers.3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolYou raise a good point about the Library as a venue Lauren Elvin and also has some concerns with this, although we don't think there is anything that can be done. This poses two questions - 1) How big is the library (some are very small). This could create the situation where the class is taking up valuable space for other students using the library at lunchtimes, and those students could easily overhear the lessons. It should be conducted in a private classroom, not an area used by the rest of the school community. 2) By having it in the library, is this a way to avoid the teacher supervision rules? Could the plan be to simply have whoever is on Libray duty at the time also be responsible for keeping an eye on the SRI class? If so, this is inadequate. A separate teacher should be listening to the whole class, the whole time.3 days ago

Lauren ElvinExactly FIRIS. I think this needs more investigation.3 days ago

Kay ClarkeSnacks at the end of the class could be a good way around not offering enticements.3 days ago

Christine WorthingtonSprung.3 days ago

Julia EmWhy are they offering a snack? I'd be curious as to when the lesson starts within the lunchtime slot. I assume that students will still be required to sit and eat for the compulsory 'sit and eat' 10 minutes at the beginning of the break before they can head off to play or to SRI (going on how things work at my child's school). If that's the case, the children will have had their lunch and wouldn't need a snack because they're hungry. So what else is it for?3 days ago

Fairness In Religions In SchoolProgram will run from 1 to 1.30, as stated on the flyer.3 days ago

Fiona MooreThe snack better be Kosher ;)3 days ago