To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is to register my objection to _____________ participating in the SRI program run by volunteers organized by ACCESS Ministry in his/her ______ class.
I have reviewed the lesson plans and find the goals and purposes of this curriculum a blatant attempt to influence the religious identity of my child. My family is perfectly capable of attending to the religious formation of our child/children, and we do not need or want the input of other parents or a parachurch ministry operating under the authority of the DEECD to do this for us.
Please consider this a registration not only of my objection him/her taking this class by being given a choice to withdraw our son/daughter but also as an objection to the fact that I am required to do this. There is no reason to conduct church ministry during school hours, families who want religious instruction should arrange this with their religious community, not rely on minimally trained volunteers smuggled into a secular state school to do it for them.
What is going on is completely out of step with the curriculum and with the values of public education in Victoria. What is going on here is also not endorsed by the Australian Education Union – and has been recently subject to legal action in VCAT.
Since the rules in place are not decided by the school, but by collusion between ACCESS Ministry and the Education Department, all I can do is ask that the teachers do their best to not communicate to our child/children that he/she is doing anything wrong or is missing out because she does not participate in a church ministry program that uses puppets, songs and cartoon books proselytise.
I would appreciate hearing what arrangements are made for her while the ACCESS Volunteers conduct their ministry. I am told by other parents that some children are just moved to the back of the class and allowed to listen but not sing or pray.
Hopefully all children who are forced by these unfair rules to “opt out” of this absurd system, will be treated fairly and not made to feel like they did something wrong, because the Minister of Education has lost track of the principles that underpin society and has instead arranged it so that churches can conduct Sunday School classes in the middle of the week.
I have signed up to support the “Fairness in Religions in School” (FIRIS) Campaign. Please visitwww.religionsinschool.com to read more about why this system is unfair and should be reformed for the benefit of our education system.
I am entirely supportive of the hard work that teachers and administrators do and in no way fault our school for this situation. My objection is to the policy, not with those who are saddled with implementing it.