Kiwi Mother Takes School to Task for Forced Religious Education on Her Son

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By Kalyan Kumar | July 30, 2014 12:22 PM EST

A mother in New Zealand has approached the Human Rights Commission in the country with a complaint, charging her son's school of discriminating her child for skipping religious instruction in the school. The report by 3 News said the complainant, Tanya Jacob of Christchurch, sought a ban on all religious practices in state-run schools because it contravenes the human rights of citizens.

Reuters
Elementary schoolchildren wear protective headgear as they walk to school in Tokyo, April 25, 2011.

Tanya Jacob said her 7-year-old son had been facing discrimination from school authorities and she pulled out the son from religious lessons at the Harewood Primary. According to Jacob, the kids had been saying odd things like 'you are going to hell if you do not believe in God'.

Jacob revealed that the school ignored her request to remove her son from the weekly class. The mother also charged that it was a corrosive environment for children to be in. Jacob alleged that it had become very upsetting for children to go to school, particularly in Bible-in-schools day, and her son would be very upset at the end of the day.

Principal denies charge

Harewood School Principal Julie Greenwood denied the charge of discrimination. She said children who do not want to participate can go to the library.

After pulling out the kid from Harewood Schoo,l Jacob has teamed up with the Secular Education Network (SEN) that spearheads the campaign for a ban on religious instruction in state schools.

David Hine of the Network said Bible in schools was incompatible with the human rights.

Second Incident

Jacob's case was the second incident of a parent raising voice against religious classes. Earlier an Auckland a father took his 5-year old son's school to the Human Rights Commission, seeking to end religious indoctrination. The boy's parent, Roy Warren, was a non-believer. He did not want his child to be exposed to "make-believe stories" and pulled him out of the class.

Warren also got the backing of SEN. David Hines, the public relations officer of SEN, noted that state schools are using value-teaching as a front for religious teaching by adding tags like God wants you to do this and if you do this you will go to Heaven. 

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(Photo: Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon)
Elementary schoolchildren wear protective headgear as they walk to school in Tokyo, April 25, 2011.
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