To send this arsey email to DSs head teacher?

(212 Posts)
Cookethenook Fri 29-Mar-13 11:18:08

Dear x,
I hope you're enjoying the start of the Easter Holidays and making the most of your well earned break!

I have a bit of a complaint I'm afraid, regarding a story that Ds was told in an assembly the other day. It involved a man taking his son to work with him and the child getting stuck in a piece of machinery that operated a bridge. This resulted in the man having to make the very difficult decision between saving his son and saving a train full of people. Ds then went on to describe the fact that God had thought that the man had done the right thing by saving the train instead of his son.

I have to say, myself and my other half were really shocked by this!

I feel it's a very very adult moral dilemma to be telling ks1 children about, let alone totally despicable that in the 21st century people still feel it appropriate to put 'the fear of God' into children. I understand that the story was trying to teach a lesson about the greater good, but I have no idea why it had to be set in such a horrific situation, nor why God had to enter into it at all- surely it is better to teach children to have strong morals because THEY think it's the right thing to do, not because of what a God tells them?

Im not usually one for belittling a child's emotional intelligence, but the love that a parent has for a child is something a young child couldn't possibly comprehend. I felt that the story was completely inappropriate for the age of the children in this respect and Ds seemed quite concerned that we wouldn't save him if we were in a similar situation.

One of the main reasons we chose to move Ds from his old school was because of the fact it was c of e and being humanists, we felt that the Church of England does not teach equality or inclusion (equal marriage rights and women's rights to name a few). Now, I realise that all schools have to include collective acts of worship into their curriculum and that we have the right to withdraw Ds from them if we wish but we have not done so previously as DS enjoys Christian worship and we didn't want him to feel singled out. It would be very disappointing if we did have to withdraw him, but I really don't feel comfortable with him feeling that bad things will happen if he doesn't follow God's word.

Kind regards
Cooke

I hope it's clear from the email what exactly happened. We were so shocked when DS told us in the car this morning. He really is quite fearless, but the story did seem to have confused and shocked him quite a bit. I'm not surprised tbh, if the story was a film, it would not be suitable for under 7's.

I don't feel we're overreacting about this (although I'm sure there will be those who disagree!), but is this ok to send? Anything that I should take out? I did end up having a bit if a rant, so it might not be totally coherent or relevant. I'm also not sure how to end it.

Argh, I'm so angry!

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 12:20:37

It's just awful. I can't believe people are all right with it. Lots of children would have just internalized it, so parents wouldn't have had the opportunity to downplay it.

ArseAche Fri 29-Mar-13 12:26:37

Lots of children will have lost interest after the first 2 minutes and be fidgeting and messing about waiting for play time.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 12:27:52

But lots won't have.

Bloody hell, the Professionally Unoffended are out in force today!

Flojobunny Fri 29-Mar-13 12:29:49

I would be furious too. But my DS is very sensitive to stuff like this. Not sure if I am more concerned by the religious nonsense at Easter or the unsuitability of story about trains.
I would complain. To the vicar. And copy in the head teacher.

LadyBeaEGGleEyes Fri 29-Mar-13 12:30:37

I totally agree with you on the particular scenario Op brought up Seeker.
And to all that think it's harmless, as adults what would you do?
Save the train passengers or your child?
I'd do the latter BTW, without question, and my 'child' is 17.
I wonder what the vicar would do.
It's too much for young children to even have to think about.

zwischenzug Fri 29-Mar-13 12:31:56

Not sure complaining to the vicar would do any good, in his mind he is doing what God would want (ie pushing religion), the concerns of any mere mortal aren't going to trump that.

Cookethenook Fri 29-Mar-13 12:37:08

I can deal with my DS. He'll be fine and we've discussed it. If he had been told this story by another child in the playground, I wouldn't be happy, but I wouldn't consider complaining. The fact that it was an adult trying to prove a point about God, I don't think that's acceptable.

aftermay I have to say, I'm quite shocked that you think I shouldn't complain because it'll be a hassle for the teachers. Yes, it might be, but honestly believe that this is an issue that needs to be looked into. I'm a childminder and as such, come under the jurisdiction of Ofsted and EYFS. If I received a complaint of a similar nature from one of my parents, I would take it very seriously and make sure it was fully investigated- like it or not, it's part of my job. And I don't want to 'gain' anything, I want the ht and vicar to know that the story was disturbing and inappropriate for such young children and to consider the age appropriateness of the assemblies more carefully in the future.

DS didn't go into detail on that bit, but I got the sense that he was crushed. Apparently the machinery lowered the bridge to let the train across.. Grim.

MiaowTheCat Fri 29-Mar-13 12:37:18

I'd ditch the opening "good holiday" stuff - when you're about to launch into a full blown rant it sounds almost like you're taunting the recipient.

I also probably would wait till after the holidays to deal with it - more than anything else it's going to get lost in the barrage of post-holiday email backlog if you send it now.

KurriKurri Fri 29-Mar-13 12:43:44

My DS was told a similar story by a Vicar in a school assembly when he was about 8ish. (Not the same story, but the same dilemma) luckily I was at the assembly, it was a mad story and totally inappropriate and I told DS this. Vicars aren't teachers so they don't always get it right regarding pitching things at the right level. And teachers don't always know what the vicar guest is going to come out with IME.

If your DS's school is a non faith school, then I wouldn't be very happy at God being brought into any stories, it is not acceptable. But if it is CofE, and you are not, then you either have to accept the God stuff and tell your DS to ignore it, or withdraw him from assemblies.

I would certainly mention to the school that you found it inappropriate, - maybe lots of other parents did too, and schools need to know that kind of things.

But - having said that, I think your e-mail sounds exactly what it is, something written when you are feeling outraged and annoyed, - that's the e-mail you write to get it off your chest, but don't send.
It is too wordy, and strays off the point, and won't get you any kind of result because it will be dismissed as a rant. So calm down, wait a day or two, and then compose something very calm and sensible (and most of all short and to the point) about your concern over the story.

Good luck. smile

KurriKurri Fri 29-Mar-13 12:45:04

Oh - meant to add, I would personally always deal with something like this by talking to the school rather than by e-mail (at least initially, you can always move on to more formal communication if you aren't happy with the outcome of a discussion)

isitsnowingyet Fri 29-Mar-13 12:51:04

SEND THE offending E-MAIL! Why does everyone have to be so British on here by not making their feelings known? The OP is upset about the assembly, and what is wrong with letting the head teacher and the vicar know? Her son is sensitive and intelligent, and just because he's 7 doesn't necessarily mean he will forget about it next week.

It's not a good solution pulling him out of every assembly because of one talk. What about the other children? Does everyone assume it doesn't matter 'because they're just kids'??

aftermay Fri 29-Mar-13 12:53:13

If you're a childminder then you should have more sense than rant in writing as your first way of addressing a non-issue. If a parent complained to Ofsted about you I don't think you would be horrified and going all introspective. You'd be ranting about the unreasonable parent who did not think it appropriate to talk to you first. It's not complaint material. Have you got no one IRL to talk things through?

aftermay Fri 29-Mar-13 12:56:17

I'm not wasting any more time on this thread. Can I say again. I'm an atheist but this is just being a drama queen, OP. let it go. The more you write on here the more professionally offended people will come to tell you how to interfere in your child's school. Keep out of it.

nkf Fri 29-Mar-13 12:56:43

It's the holidays. Chill.

wwydmoney1 Fri 29-Mar-13 12:59:33

I would be fucking fuming.

In fact I am fuming as an atheist who's children are supposed to be removed from assembly when the vicar does his weekly round at our non religious school but the school frequently 'forget' and send them anyway. Last week DD actually told the teacher that DS was in assembly and wasnt supposed to be and was told it was none of her business angry

wwydmoney1 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:00:48

When questioned I was told that the sub had sent him by mistake and that DS didn't seem to mind. Kind of beyond the point ?!

thezebrawearspurple Fri 29-Mar-13 13:01:20

I don't think it's an appropriate story for young children, I also think the message is wrong, no loving parent would let their child die to save a bunch of strangers and to teach that as the moral thing to do is horrible and offensive. yanbu.

KurriKurri Fri 29-Mar-13 13:01:49

isitsonwingyet - It's not about being 'British' hmm it';s about getting the most satisfactory result. That e-mail will not do it, it is unclear and ranty - I lost interest in it, and I'm on the OP's side and share her views.
If you just want to get things off your chest, fire off ranty diatribes, if you want things to change, be calm and sensible.

Mad ranty stuff makes the recipient
a) feel annoyed
b) laugh
c) throw it in the bin marked 'nut jobs'

ArseAche Fri 29-Mar-13 13:02:12

As a professionally unoffended person, why don't you just say to your DS that some people believe in God, and this story is for those who believe in God. And when you grow up you can find out more about it and make a decision for yourself. Explain what a vicar is. Then explain that lots of people don't believe in the same things. And that this is what he believes in.etc.

No harm done. He will have a little bit of understanding of what a Vicar does, without all the offence and ear covering?

We all grew up wtih bible stories etc. It wasn't until we were older that we came to our own decisions on this. No need to go ranting to all and sundry.

ArseAche Fri 29-Mar-13 13:02:46

Sorry that is me as the 'professionally unoffended' not the OP grin

theskyonasnowynight Fri 29-Mar-13 13:03:01

zwischenzug, there is nothing wrong or unenlightened about RE being compulsory to GCSE. It is EDUCATION not INSTRUCTION nowadays. In the 3 or 4 years leading up to the GCSE we studied Christianity, New Testament textual analysis (actually very interesting), Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, philosophy of religion, philosophy of ethics and philosophy of language, humanism. I gained a huge level of respect for people of all faiths and none and learned how to think in a way you don't in any other subject.

mum382013 Fri 29-Mar-13 13:03:21

I would complain too. my child would be upset by this.

Welovegrapes Fri 29-Mar-13 13:03:33

I would have a word, in person with the vicar. I would ask to discuss it in confidence and say your son was upset and you thought he would like to know so he can tone it down another time.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 13:03:54

Yep. As I said earlier, either wait to talk to the school face to face, or send a brief email asking for clarification, green ink stuff never gets you anywhere. But don't ignore it, despite the ranting of the Professionally Unoffended.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Fri 29-Mar-13 13:04:33

YABU with your opening sentence because you are presuming that the HT is reading and dealing with work email in his holiday. smile

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