Castletory College in Limerick
You may recall how yesterday RTÉ’s Emma O’Kelly reported a father of a pupil in Limerick secondary school Castletroy College had requested that his daughter be able to opt out of studying religion in the school.
His request was initially rejected and he was told religion is a mandatory subject.
But, on further reflection, the school agreed last night to let the girl opt out of the subject.
However, even though she’s now allowed to opt out of the subject, she will still have to remain in the classroom while the subject is being taught.
RTÉ’s Emma O’Kelly writes:
“The school said it had a duty of care towards pupils, who needed to be supervised, and so this student would have to remain in the classroom.”
“But surely a school the size of Castletroy College – with 1,200 students – can provide some kind of alternative to youngsters who do not want to study religion? Surely out of 1,200 students this student is not the only one?”
“Other schools have told parents that if they wish their child to opt out they will have to collect the child and care for them for the duration of the religion class. This is clearly unworkable.”
“The Forum on Patronage and Pluralism recommended three years ago that the Department of Education develop a protocol to give clarity to primary schools on their responsibilities in this regard. It said the protocol should be accompanied by examples of good practice. This has not happened.”
“… At both primary and second-level there appears to be a fear that if opting out of religion is facilitated in any way then it will become attractive, too attractive, even – perhaps – popular.”
“The ‘floodgates’ might open. But where would the harm be in that?”
“If this is what parents – the primary educators of their children – want, some of them. If it’s what some young adults in second-level school want. If it’s a legal right, which it is, then surely it’s time the system accommodated that?“
Previously: Simple Solution