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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!

FeistyLass Sat 30-Mar-13 20:53:48

Seeker I'm sure you don't mean to be patronising but your post could read that way. Unless you were there you don't know whether the children were taught 'about' Easter or instructed to act in a certain way. It's all about context. Sometimes schools can do their utmost to give context but dcs can miss it or not understand it.

Dinkysmummy Sat 30-Mar-13 19:59:02

I think you are right to send the email.

I have the same issues with that story! Your poor DS and the other DC who think their parents might not save them!

seeker Sat 30-Mar-13 18:07:09

I find it extraordinary that people find it impossible to understand the distinction between teaching about and teaching to do. If a child is worried that he will suffer some unpleasant consequences if he doesn't follow god's word, he hasn't been taught about Chrisitianity- he has been taught to do Christianity. Th first is fine. The second isn't.

ComposHat Sat 30-Mar-13 15:00:20

I'm an atheist too, but am surprised that you find that the 'daily act of Christian worship' addresses (albeit in an oblique way) the central tenet of Christian faith. If you don't want him exposed to Christian teachings, withdraw him from the act of worship, but you can't have it both ways

Send your email by all long as you don't mind it getting pinned up in the staff room and the teachers making 'wanker' gestures behind your back come the next parents' evening.

chris481 Sat 30-Mar-13 14:50:30

I haven't read the thread, so hope I'm not duplicating. Legally speaking, the man in the story may have made the wrong decision. You cannot kill (violate the human rights) of one person in order to save the others. The relative numbers or potential deaths involved are irrelevant. Assuming his intervention caused someone to die who would not otherwise have died, he has committed a crime.

(Not a lawyer, going from something I heard about a reality TV program where people had to make a similar decision. They also went with saving the greater number of lives in the hypothetical scenario, and were told they'd got it wrong.)

MajaBiene Sat 30-Mar-13 12:40:59

therose - Christianity cherry picked the bits of existing festivals that they liked/could fit round their story, not the other way round. I celebrate Easter as a traditional beginning of spring festival, that involves eating nice new lambs, chocolate eggs, magic bunnies and daffodils - Jesus doesn't come in to it.

Same as in late December I celebrate a mid-winter festival that has been happening for much longer than a couple of thousand years, with evergreen trees (please don't tell me Christmas trees are something to do with Christ!), feasting, gift giving and general enjoyment in an otherwise dreary time of year.

zwischenzug Sat 30-Mar-13 11:58:58

...they will provide religious education. This expectation that there will be no discussion about religion doesn't exist.

Straw man... education (as in "some people believe this") is one thing, indoctrination as in the OPs case is something else.

LadyBeaEGGleEyes Sat 30-Mar-13 11:54:38

As has been said over and over again therose, Christianity nicked all the pagan traditions and arranged their own calendar around them.
Eggs are a fertility symbol and the beginning of spring and rebirth.
Just as Christmas is set around the winter solistice.
It's now commercial and a popular holiday, and if non Christians want to eat chocolate eggs and not think about God, that is their right.

Tethering Sat 30-Mar-13 11:53:27

seeker I wasn't referring to 'anybody' or 'everybody' but to the op where it says:
I really don't feel comfortable with him feeling that bad things will happen if he doesn't follow God's word
It's the Op's fear that that is how religion is presented.
zwischenzug really? You see even non-denominational schools where I live are open about the fact they will provide religious education. This expectation that there will be no discussion about religion doesn't exist.
I'm not here to defend religious education in schools or my religious beliefs. I was responding to the op's post. It would be nice if others didn't see it as an opportunity to launch their own religious agenda but that's obviously too much to ask. I'm not going to derail the op's thread.

HesterShaw Sat 30-Mar-13 11:48:53

Yes but as we non Christians have pointed out, we are not cherry picking Christian beliefs just to have a nice time. I know it suits Christians to think that all non believers are shallow and lacking in principle, but as has been explained atheists don't think chocolate eggs are anything to do with the teachings of god, Jesus, and all those who came after them peddling the story.

Chocolate is chocolate. Eggs are a fertility symbol.

theroseofwait Sat 30-Mar-13 11:44:10

Actually, Maja, I'm with you there, and I don't glorify Christianity when I'm teaching-it would be completely wrong to do so. I find all religion fascinating but didn't actually become a Christian until I was 32.

What does annoy me are the people who cherry pick Christian beliefs to just have a nice time!

MajaBiene Sat 30-Mar-13 11:44:09

I'd be more pissed off about the horror story than the god stuff, but if I was complaining I'd mention both.

soverylucky Sat 30-Mar-13 11:42:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zwischenzug Sat 30-Mar-13 11:38:31

Somehow I think Easter would be less popular if we were still on stained red eggs.

Maybe this is what cadbury's creme eggs represent, seeing as they have a red/orange bit in the filling...

MajaBiene Sat 30-Mar-13 11:37:28

Learning about god/s is fine, children should learn about all kinds of gods. But it shouldn't be presented as uncontested fact, especially when children are very young.

Why couldn't the vicar have just explained what Christians believe about Easter?

zwischenzug Sat 30-Mar-13 11:36:45

However, don't conflate two issues. You obviously aren't comfortable with your child learning about God and yet don't want him to miss out. You can't ask the school to change their approach to collective acts of worship to please you.

If it's a non-religious school you certainly can complain about bringing in senior figures from various cults and talking about their cult as if it is evidence-based fact. Children should not have to be made to feel different and excluded to be defended from this sort of attempted indoctrination.

HesterShaw Sat 30-Mar-13 11:36:16

Somehow I think Easter would be less popular if we were still on stained red eggs.

seeker Sat 30-Mar-13 11:33:01

"However, don't conflate two issues. You obviously
aren't comfortable with your child learning about God"

Nobody, but nobody has ever said they don't want thier children learning about God! Why do people persist in putting up that straw man?

zwischenzug Sat 30-Mar-13 11:32:15


In particular, the custom of the Easter egg originated amongst the early Christians of Mesopotamia, who stained eggs red in memory of the blood of Christ, shed at his crucifixion.

It's funny though how chocolate easter eggs are said to mean something convenient to the message Christians want them to mean. Nothing to do with stuffing your face with chocolate...

seeker Sat 30-Mar-13 11:31:09

Christians have always been brilliant at hijacking traditions from other religions and none. But the egg/tomb thing is a new one one on me!

HesterShaw Sat 30-Mar-13 11:30:52

But the chicks are just born! For the first time, they are not resurrected. And they are also a product of their parents mating, whereas sex is so distasteful to Christians, they insist Jesus's mother was a virgin.

Tethering Sat 30-Mar-13 11:30:39

I can't help but think that maybe your ds did miss part of the story, possibly because he is so young. If it was an Easter allegory then the son comes back to life, if it was a reworking of the Abraham story then the son is also saved. Perhaps your ds was so shocked by the bridge and train part that he missed the ending. confused

The only other point I'd make is that assemblies are usually for more than one class so it can be a difficult to pitch a story just right for little ones and older ones. My ds came home from nursery telling me about Jesus being put on the cross with nails and then dying. I'm a Catholic and I was a bit shock that they had been given so much detail. However it was in assembly and the entire school were present so I can understand that there may be parts that aren't entirely appopriate for the smallest members. I think they hope it will go above their heads. (my ds wasn't traumatised. I was more shocked than him - he equated it with superheroes and baddies and then the goodies saved the day because Jesus came back to life grin ).

If I was as angry about this as you are then I would have a word with the HT when you go back after Easter. The vicar gave the talk but the ht is responsible.

However, don't conflate two issues. You obviously
aren't comfortable with your child learning about God and yet don't want him to miss out. You can't ask the school to change their approach to collective acts of worship to please you. You can ask them to explain how they ensure talks are age-appropriate for a mixed age audience.

MajaBiene Sat 30-Mar-13 11:30:18

therose, these are obviously traditional spring time symbols that Christianity has stretched to make relevant to their story. Why do you think the timing of Christmas and Easter are as they are? Early Christianity took traditional festivals and made them Christian.

theroseofwait Sat 30-Mar-13 11:30:00

Well clearly not seeker, in terms of ascension day. Am on iPad so can't quote. . and who are you to tell me which of my beliefs are correct?

theroseofwait Sat 30-Mar-13 11:26:44

No, why would I joke?! Birds break out of their eggs to new life just as Jesus broke out of the tomb. Some Christians believe that egg rolling stems from the boulder rolling from the tomb entrance, but that is a step too far for me personally!

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