If we had to pick one example to showcase why “Special Religious Instruction” is a beat up on our schools, it would be the case of Ormond Primary.

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Last night, travelers on North Rd. were treated to a sign which can only be described as a red flag to FIRIS.

We’ve written about this before, and its been in the Herald Sun, and last night, Ormond Anglican Church, which is a block from Ormond Primary, had the temerity to announce that parents “want” SRI.

Let’s consider what has happened at Ormond Primary:

No one on the staff or school council asked them to do this.  The principal didn’t want it, at least some of the parents had chosen the school BECAUSE it didn’t have SRI, but Ormond Anglican didn’t care about all that.  What they care about is their “mission” and in this case, because the Department of Education told the principal at Ormond Primary that he had no choice, that school council had no choice, Ormond Anglican now walks the one block from their newly remodeled church to a state primary school and instructs children from the ACCESS Ministry curriculum books.  Divisive, unwelcome, intrusive, are words that accurately describe this mob.

Parents were then asked to opt out of this instruction if they didn’t want it, and they were given highly massaged explanations of the content of the curriculum.  The beat up came because parents who opposed this were given no uncertain terms that if they opposed Ormond Primary, that it would cause an unwelcome conflict at the school.   The parents who were most upset by this had a choice to make, fight Ormond Anglican, or live with SRI.  Out of deference to “the rules” parents, who are busy with earning a living, unlike the staff at Ormond Anglican who are paid to intrude like this:  backed down.

However, things are changing, and this sign perhaps is really a sign of desperation.  The old dishonest forms have now been replaced with information that makes it clear to parents what SRI is, and importantly, that if you can get your head around this, that its not endorsed by the Department of Education.

No, go back and read that again:  Our primary schools were obligated to allow groups like Ormond Anglican Church to take over classrooms, even though any family who wants can go one block to Ormond Anglican, which has its own stunningly attractive classroom spaces. Does anyone think this is needed or fair?  Are parents really “choosing” SRI?  No, its put in their way, and parents are then asked if they want to “avoid it”.  Parents also find it hard to understand how anything “in the school” is not in fact “from the school”, or if we weren’t dealing with insanity, completely approved by and supported by the school.  In this case, none of this is true.  Ormond Anglican simply is allowed to expand their reach and use the schools – the professionals at the school (ie the teachers) are told to STFU, so Rev Kev can have a go.  It is wrong.

In this example, Ormond Anglican came uninvited, using their capacity to threaten the staff at the school, and they lie to parents (via forms that distort the information about what they are doing in the schools).  Ormond Anglican, in what has to be one of the more brazen attempts to call for our upbraiding, puts up a sign to claim that parents “want it”.

Nothing could in fact be further from the truth.  No example gives a more glaring or objective proof that this policy is a beat up that schools and families must endure.  In this example you have the added spectacle of the unashamed glee in proclaiming things that are simply not true.

Yeah, verily I say right here:  As parents we will be voting with our feet.  What happened in Kew, will happen to you.

Ormond Anglican, you have gone too far, the patience of parents is exhausted and you’ve asked us to make an example of you.

“you have sown the wind, and you shall reap the whirlwind” … now where have I read that, before?

I do know that it isn’t something kids learn from doing secret word finds telling them that Jesus can be their friend.