DISCRIMINATION: Schoolboy in New Zealand made to wash dishes for opting out of Religious Education class

[23 July 2014] - 

A Christchurch schoolboy was forced to "wash the dishes" when he opted out of voluntary religious lessons at a state school, his mother says.
The incident, which happened in 2012, has been pushed into the spotlight by mother Tanya Jacob, who wants a public review of religion in schools.
Ms Jacob has joined the Secular Education Network, which lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission last week asking for a repeal of education law.
Speaking to Fairfax Media, Ms Jacob said her son had been forced to wash the dishes when he opted out of voluntary religious classes at Harewood School.
The primary school officially closes for half an hour to hold the lessons, which are run by volunteers.
Students can opt out, but after pulling her son out of the class, Ms Jacob discovered he was often being "snuck back in".
"Kids that do these classes are given lollies for believing in God, and the ones that don't are made to pick up rubbish," she told Fairfax.
"This really hurt our family. If we can't send our children to their local school without fear of religious discrimination, what are we left with?"
Harewood Scool principal Julie Greenwood denies the allegations, saying Ms Jacob's child was "not put to work".
"Those who choose to opt out are in no way discriminated against," she told Fairfax. "The children are actively supervised in the library during the 30-minute sessions."
Secular Education Network laid a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on Friday, asking for a review and repeal of section 77-80 of the Education Act 1964.
They want a public review and a report to Parliament on religion in schools.


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