AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 396
Chaplains in schools challenged
14 September 2010
to Michael Bachelard in The Age, September 5,
Not unsurprisingly, the private sectarian sector is in for their share, although given the billions of taxpayer dollars they are now harvesting it is small pickings.
some of the country's richest private schools have taken $60,000 of taxpayers'
money to subsidise their existing chaplains.
the Australian Psychological Society has slammed the program as ''dangerous''
to children's mental health. at least one poorer school in
The Australian Council of State School Organisations called chaplaincy ''the wrong response and for the wrong reasons''. Chaplaincy organisations rejected these criticisms, saying parents and principals welcomed chaplains, seeing them as a valuable adjunct to other welfare services at schools.
Williams said that while the rules of the program prohibited chaplains from
''It's absolutely, totally out of control here. You can't prevent your children being exposed to chaplaincy,'' Mr Williams said.
Michael Bachelard reports further as follows:
ACCESS Ministries chief executive Evonne Paddison said that children would rather go to chaplains than to other professions because they were ''independent, significant adults'' who were around full-time at schools rather than for the ''clinical hour'' of visiting psychologists. Chaplains picked up what other professionals might miss, she said, then referred them on.
But Psychological Society spokeswoman Monica Thielking pointed to a recent ACCESS publication that quoted one school chaplain saying: ''At the moment … I've got two grade 5 kids on suicide watch.''
She said chaplains were not qualified to deal with such sensitive issues, and when they tried to, it was ''dangerous professional behaviour''.
Dr Thielking said early-intervention programs for children's mental health were too scarce because of lack of money, and the government was wasting money on chaplaincy.
467 independent schools nationally that were funded under the first three years
of the $163 million program, most were low-fee Christian schools. But others
are high-fee private schools.
DOGS are against the chaplaincy program in State schools because it contravenes the principle of separation of religion and the State. It also undermines the fundamental principle of public education which should be accessible to all with offence to none.
DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND STOP STATE AID TO PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.
Listen to the DOGS program
3CR, 855 on the A.M. dial
12 Noon Saturdays