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Religion In school - How would you deal with this?

(37 Posts)
Bitlost Sun 15-Jan-17 09:39:48

My DD (7) is just back from a residential course with school. On the first night, when the teachers announced "Prayer time", my DD stayed put ( We're atheists). The children in her room singled her out for not saying prayers, kept telling her she was a Christian, that Jesus sacrificed himself for us etc.... It got so bad that DD went to get a member of staff, who asked DD's friends to stop and they did.

I'm annoyed that DD has been subjected to this but can live with it. DD's a strong minded girl.

I do feel however that I should have a word with her teacher and see if the school could teach the children about atheism and reinforce the notion of tolerance, which has clearly gone over some children's heads... DH says to leave it and that I'll look like I'm making a fuss over nothing.

We go to a non faith school by the way. Not that this should make any difference.

user1484226561 Sun 15-Jan-17 09:42:53

leave it you are making a fuss over nothing

MrsWooster Sun 15-Jan-17 09:48:25

Prayer time?!? Not a big fuss but a tactful word re--quiring--questing that, at best, a quiet time before bed for thinking or praying or whatever would be appropriate.

togetherlikeglue Sun 15-Jan-17 09:52:49

I agree with MrsWooster about having a quiet word. And I would include your point about teaching tolerance. It's so important that children understand from an early age what that's all about.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 15-Jan-17 09:56:44

You might also want to remind the school about British Values, which they should be encouraging and which include respect for others.

DesolateWaist Sun 15-Jan-17 10:02:50

So this was the other children saying this?

First, I'm surprised at a non church school announcing 'prayer time'. (Yes I am very well aware that all schools have to have collective worship etc).
Secondly, as said above, school now have to follow what are called 'British Values' (otherwise known as 'don't be a bigoted arse). This stipulates that you respect other religions and no religion.

Talk to the school about the behaviour of the children.

mrz Sun 15-Jan-17 10:19:10

I'm surprised firstly by teachers saying "prayer time" and secondly by the way the other children responded ...

EleanorRigby123 Sun 15-Jan-17 10:25:05

I think that is VERY odd in a non-faith school.

Even in a faith school they should have been asking for quiet time for prayer or reflection.

noblegiraffe Sun 15-Jan-17 10:27:16

I'm surprised at a residential aged 7.

The whole thing sounds very odd, yes discuss with the school that your DD was picked on, but also query prayer time, non faith schools should be more careful.

Bitlost Sun 15-Jan-17 10:59:13

Thank you all. I was also surprised about prayer time. I'll have to ask DD about it again. I will have a quiet word. I don't want to make it into a big thing, far from that. It's just an opportunity to learn and reinforce the notion of tolerance.

M00MINMAMMA Sun 15-Jan-17 11:28:11

I think you are right to raise it. Good that your dd didn't get upset but imagine if there had been a child from a minority faith or someone who was just more sensitive. I think a quiet word is reasonable.

bojorojo Sun 15-Jan-17 18:49:52

My children did a residential in y2. DD 1 was 6. Nearly every child went - we are built of stern stuff in the Home Counties!

Making a child feel uncomfortable is unfortunate. I wonder if the teachers thought it was the 'daily act of worship' that takes place in all schools, religious or not. If the trip
was in term time, this could be the reason. It is a bit unusual on a residential though. Does your DD not do the act of worship at school? If she does not go, then maybe they should have given her the chance to go into another room but given what the law says, I think you will have to go along with it. It is hardly a major educational crime and it is what the law says.

What you choose to espouse /teach at home is up to you, but each LA has an agreed Religious curriculum. You could lobby all the churches that are required to agree it. I assume atheists are not part of it. It is not up to a teacher or even the Head so you would be wasting your time trying to alter what they do in school.

DesolateWaist Sun 15-Jan-17 18:52:48

What they do at school, the daily act of worship, is one thing.
A group of children telling op's dd that she was wrong not to join in and that Jesus died for her sins is quite another.
Whether the op withdraws her dd from the daily act of worship in schools is utterly irrelevant.

mrz Sun 15-Jan-17 19:11:07

How many ordinary seven year olds talk like that? It sounds like cult brainwashed followers!

Tiggles Sun 15-Jan-17 20:49:31

Even at our church school or sunday school I haven't heard 7 year olds talk that

Campfiresmoke Sun 15-Jan-17 22:10:39

i teach in a faith school. When we say prayers we say "Close your eyes to pray or else sit in respectful silence". It sounds very strange that a non faith school has prayer time and also very unusual that every other child was a Christian!
My children are most definitely a minority being Christian in a non faith school. Christians are taught to love their neighbour and so it's very sad to hear they have been unkind especially as they have probably experienced the situation in reverse themselves. My kids have had some awful hurtful things said to them because they go to church. You only have to look on Mumsnet to see how intolerant most aethiests are towards religion and the kids copy their parents attitude.
I am very sorry to hear about your child's experience. Definitely talk to the teachers and tell them what happened. The school needs an assembly in tolerance of beliefs.

DesolateWaist Sun 15-Jan-17 22:20:22

You only have to look on Mumsnet to see how intolerant most aethiests are towards religion and the kids copy their parents attitude.

Some atheists, please.

Blossomdeary Sun 15-Jan-17 22:22:44

Very odd indeed and wholly inappropriate in a non-faith school. At our local non-aligned school they do say grace but it is made clear that it is not compulsory and that if you are not joining in then you are expected to be respectful and keep quiet.

The behaviour of the children towards your DD sounds very odd indeed. It is to be hoped that the school is teaching the scope of different religions and above all teaching tolerance. If these children really did behave in that way then it is not unreasonable to have a quiet word with the school.

Minstrelsareyum Mon 16-Jan-17 10:18:14

Myself and DS are churchgoers and DS is in a CofEschool and there is prayer time, to be expected, plus a lot of other faith based activities in form time and extra curricular. However, for a NON faith school to have 'prayer time' is odd. I agree it can be excluding for those who do not wish to take part and feel uncomfortable with. Therefore, I would suggest talking to the school and asking about policy and how your DC can have some time to herself to 'recharge her batteries' or the like, instead.

NotdeadyetBOING Mon 16-Jan-17 11:43:52

Definitely odd and you should definitely mention it IMO.

CripsSandwiches Mon 16-Jan-17 12:01:46

You only have to look on Mumsnet to see how intolerant most aethiests are towards religion and the kids copy their parents attitude.

Aren't you worried that your children will pick up on your attitude that "most atheists are intolerant". Not a very nice message to send out. Unless you've conducted a large-scale survey of people's religious views you probably wouldn't know which posters were or weren't atheists. Most posts that I've seen are similar to above where posters don't mention their particular faith, or lack of faith because it isn't relevant. Those that do mention that they're atheists tend to be in favour of respect for everyone else (as do most religious people as far as I've seen).

sportinguista Wed 18-Jan-17 06:58:17

We've just withdrawn DS to home educate for a similar reason. But the religion involved was not Christianity. We managed for 3 years but it has got more intense. Not the school's fault as they are pretty balanced but they could only do so much about what kids are saying and they would have a talk, it would die down for a while then it would start up again.

We are no religion but favour tolerance and a secular environment within education. The problem I think comes when you have a group of children who are brought up in a framework where religion is hugely important part of their lives it becomes something that they naturally talk about and they won't necessarily understand that it isn't appropriate in certain settings. It is important that they do understand this as in places like work settings this can actually get them into trouble.

The prayer time aspect should be adressed in a way that all can access, so those with a religion might see it as prayer time, those not could see it as reflection/meditation, it maybe needs to be framed in a more neutral way.

Most atheists are not intolerant but in favour of each following their own path wih tolerance to the choice of others.

TammySwansonxx Wed 18-Jan-17 07:04:30

I would ask them how they would handle it if the kids had been bullying a child for being a different religion.

It's unacceptable

TenaciousOne Wed 18-Jan-17 07:07:52

Just to counter the British Values thing it actually means nothing of the sort that is mentioned upthread. Britain's religion is CofE and so it is to teach religion.

TenaciousOne Wed 18-Jan-17 07:16:46

Sorry hit reply before finishing my post. British Values doesn't have a meaning that everyone can agree on and there hasn't been a fleshed out subject to teach or Values agreed. I've visited several schools recently as trying to choose a school for DS and some schools openly state that they teach British Values by the very fact their intake is British and their teaching staff are British. Others actually take up curriculum time teaching what they consider to British Values which I won't repeat as it was so offensive so they were definitely for teaching how to be a bigoted arse.

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