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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

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!

QuintEggSensuality Fri 29-Mar-13 11:45:18

Not by substituting divine characters for real little children and real parents in an every day situation for sure! Most priests know that there is a careful line when bringing every day situations in to exemplify the scriptures. You dont turn it into a horror story that makes children feel unsafe

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 29-Mar-13 11:46:51

He wasn't telling a moral story! He was telling the Easter story in a way he thought children would understand. I mean, the original would probably be even more upsetting! 'his son was nailed to a cross, left there for days, and all the local people came and laughed at his son while he died', that's a real bundle of laughs!

HesterShaw Fri 29-Mar-13 11:47:51

If it's the vicar who told it, you should complain to the vicar. I doubt the vicar ran by the exact details of the assembly s/he was about to give with the head beforehand. You should word the email differently imo, and focus on why a vicar is coming in to do assemblies if it's not a church school. But wait until after the holidays.

LoopaDaLoopa Fri 29-Mar-13 11:47:55

Dear xxx

I'm afraid I have to register my concern regarding an issue that occurred (on date).

DS came home from school upset, and told us of the story told in assembly, which detailed a parent having to choose between his child's life and the lives of a number or train passengers.

I am deeply concerned that this is not a suitable topics for KS1 children. DS is not mature enough to process this type of moral dilemma, and is quite upset and confused. He is worried that we would not save him in a similar situation.

I am unable to see the educational value of this sort of teaching to such young children, and as such, I would like to request that we are warned in advance if similar sessions are to take place again, as we will withdraw DS from assembly.

Best wishes etc...

Fairyegg Fri 29-Mar-13 11:49:51

That's what my 6 year old son was taught scarlettsmummy he came home describing the whole scene, blood and nails and everything and then drew me a lovely picture about it! I don't mind, it's just a story and he's 6 not 3 and we can discuss it together at home.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 11:50:46

I would be outraged.

But I would wait til next term ant talk to the HT face to face. Or I would send a very brief email expressing your concern and asking for more information. I would never go into a school all guns blazing without being in possession of all the facts.

zwischenzug Fri 29-Mar-13 11:51:22

Have I understood this right? Even non-religious schools are made to have a 'collective act of worship'? I really fucking hope I've misunderstood that.

Angelico Fri 29-Mar-13 11:51:35

I think that story was inappropriate for young children. I understand what they were trying to do but I would be furious that they had chosen that example of how to update it. I would much rather DD heard a story about Jesus being crucified which she is then able to accept or reject, rather than thinking some omniscient being would expect me or her dad to sacrifice her for the good of strangers.

I wouldn't email though. Send a toned down version by letter. I'd also leave out all the CoE stuff which the Head won't give a shit about.

Angelico Fri 29-Mar-13 11:54:12

'Collective act of worship' is a broad term. Most non-religious schools tend to focus on ethics rather than religion (and it's usually for 2 mins between telling them off about behaviour in the loos and reading out the hockey results!). The problems tend to arise when outside groups come in, be it trendy vicar or young over-the-top evangelists.

aftermay Fri 29-Mar-13 11:56:00

Pop over to the thread about teachers before you go in all guns blazing. A complaint will stick around for ever. It will take hours of meetings and stress and planning and reevaluation and all sorts of shit. What exactly will you gain? Let the vicar do his vicar job. Let the teachers do their jobs. You stick to being your DS's mum and telling him it's all silly and hell get over it. FFS. Talk about a mountain out of a molehill.

RenterNomad Fri 29-Mar-13 11:58:06

An audience of children would be bound to take the wrong end of such a story. This is not a story for children and can't teach them anything. It could only, and only possibly, work on adults. *There is no dilemma, no choice, for children, in such a story.

If this was the story, the vicar is either dumb or cruel.

zwischenzug Fri 29-Mar-13 11:59:01

Ok fair enough, the as long as no actual 'worship' is involved, that's not too bad. But they really should change the wording in the curriculum.

OP your email sounds fine to me, although it is a bit waffley, if you could make it more concise about the specific things you object to it might be more effective.

LittleBairn Fri 29-Mar-13 11:59:39

I am a Christian I personally would have an issue with someone giving my child this sort of dilemma they are to young at that age to understand the complex emotional and moral aspect of the story. Plus how does he know that God would be pleased with its not for the teacher to impose his version of God onto the Children that should be for the children to work out themselves.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 12:03:13

"Have I understood this right? Even non-religious schools are made to have a 'collective act of worship'? I really fucking hope I've misunderstood that."

No you haven't- although there are plenty who will tell you it's no big deal. Under the 1988(I think) Education Act, all state primary schools are required to have a daily act of collective worship, "broadly Christian in nature"

Oh, and while your blood is boiling, RE is compulsory to GCSE.

quoteunquote Fri 29-Mar-13 12:06:57

OP send the email, that is totally disgusting behaviour, lying to children, is abusive.

I would contact ofsted, who ever thought it a good idea to do this to children should not be allowed any where near them again.

Saski Fri 29-Mar-13 12:08:25

Most people won't read such a wordy email with sufficient care to really understand the point of it. I like the far briefer version noted above.

That is a bonkers story.

zwischenzug Fri 29-Mar-13 12:09:10

Let the vicar do his vicar job.

If it's not a religious school, the vicar should certainly not be allowed to do his 'vicar job' anywhere inside the grounds anyway. Especially when he is likely to see his job as spreading the word of whichever particular invisible man in the sky he believes in.

ArseAche Fri 29-Mar-13 12:10:11

outraged ?? Seriously seeker?

Every day at school our children are told all sorts of different things. Some good, some bad. Sometimes I just tell mine to ignore it or forget it. Unless you take alot of stuff with a pinch of salt, I am not sure school is right for your children.

If one takes on board everything a child is told at school, one would be forever emailing. And it was the vicar, not the school who told the story so if you need to take issue with it, take it up with him.

Floggingmolly Fri 29-Mar-13 12:10:19

Get over yourself.

aftermay Fri 29-Mar-13 12:10:53

Ask the vicar to do a lesson plan that you can go through with a fine tooth comb in advance. He needs to explain exactly what the educational objectives are and how he will differentiate it for those more sensitive souls who will be troubled by it because their parents make it into a big deal.

Do everyone a favour and be grown up about it. If you can't deal with this without running for a complaint then words fail me.

yaimee Fri 29-Mar-13 12:11:27

I'd be angry if my child were told this story at such a young age. Presumably there were also younger children present too, if it was a ks1 assembly. I think that making an appointment ir sensing the email after Easter would be best, so that you can have a bit more of a think about what you want to say.
If your aim us to have the school rethink the content of their assemblies, then a rant won't help with that, so cool down and work on the email over Easter.

LadyBeaEGGleEyes Fri 29-Mar-13 12:11:48

I never had a problem with RE being taught in schools, as long as it encompassed all religion.
Otherwise how can children make their own decisions about faith?
Ds is 17 and is an athiest like me, but he was educated enough to make that choice.
I'd question it Op, but after the holidays, and use Loopas suggestion, it gets the point across and is more concise.

seeker Fri 29-Mar-13 12:16:58

Who has an issue with RE being taught in schools?

Look, there were lots of people agreeing with a poster yesterday that Matilda was too scary for young children. But this sort of stuff is OK?

How come people are happy with Christians pushing their agenda to small children- I bet the would be lots of crossness if the local Labour party came and tried to persuade all the children to join!

stifnstav Fri 29-Mar-13 12:17:48

I think the part about the child being stuck in machinery is prtty etty fucking horrendous. Then how exactly did the child die to save the train in the vicar's story?

Its not appropriate at all. Some of those children won't have the type of parents who will minimise stories like that and will be terrified.

zwischenzug Fri 29-Mar-13 12:19:44

Oh, and while your blood is boiling, RE is compulsory to GCSE.

Fortunately my daughter is 10 years away from GCSE. I live in hope that the education system will become more enlightened in that time.

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