Broken enough that I have a Teacher, paid by the dept of education who works in the school my children attend, which is patron by the catholic archdioceses of Dublin, threatening my 11 year old son who has Aspergers , with punishment homework to get him to bring in a document which does not exist and to get me to fill in a form to disclose information about my son and my family to the local parish which the school can not disclose due to it’s own data protection policy.
I reckon that is pretty broken.
The form arrive home on the 07/09/2009, it was from the local catholic parish office and distributed in the school by the teacher to all the children in 6th class. The form asks for a number of details which are needed which are to be entered in the parishes’ own Confirmation Register, Name, address, phone number, date of birth, date of baptism, where the baptism took place, mother’s first name and maiden surname, father’s name as on birth cert.
Now first of I thought well none of this applies to my child he’s not a christian he must have just been given a form like the rest of the class but nope. My son’s name was written on the top right of the form and there was a note form the teacher hand written in red pen on the bottom stating:
“Even tough (name of my son) is not being confirmed the church is requesting details for all children so if you wouldn’t mind filling in the relevant info”.
Hell yes I mind, and the teacher had marked date of baptism and where the baptism took place as not applicable (N/A) but asterisked all the other fields of the form for me to fill in. So not impressed that a religious organisation I am not a member of wants to start a file on my son and my family I questioned the school secretary on it and was told that I need not fill it in and not to worry about it.
Que yesterday at homework time I find a note written in my son’s homework journal requesting the form and my son was upset as he was worried that he would get punishment work if he did not have the form in, so upset it took a half of talking him down.
So I took the time to write a letter to his (new) teacher explaining that he is not baptised, that the church has no right to start a record on him and that the matter had been cleared with the school secretary and requesting no more notes or threats of punishment work about the form or baptismal cert and hoped that would be the end of it.
Today my son comes home to say the Deputy headmaster had come into his class room looking for the forms and pulled my son out of class to ask him about it, all of which had my son upset and in a panic, he did tell the deputy headmaster that he is not baptised, will not be making his confirmation and that I had spoken to the school secretary and was told that I need not fill out the form.All of which he related to me (when he got home as he is on half day) upset, confused and wondering what he had done ‘wrong’. Blessed child had not done a damn thing wrong what so ever.
That is two days in a row my child has come home from school upset and stressed over this matter and I am having to deal with the fall out. It is not as if the school which he has been enrolled in for the seven years is not aware that he is not baptised, they had that entered in their records from the day I put his name down to be enrolled in the school. It is not as if the school are unaware of the fact he has Aspergers, as they were the referral to the child and family clinic and he has learning support in place. It is not as if the school has had plenty of children currently and over the years enrolled who are not catholic but yet they seem to have no system in place to pass that information on to the teachers so that those children are not needlessly singled out.
The school in every other aspect has been wonderful and supportive of both my children,
it is close enough for them to walk to, the class sizes are good, the staff in general are wonderful but there are still times when I wish there had of been an Educate Together school close enough to send them too.
As for trying to resolve this matter and so that my son feels school is fair I have a 9:05am meeting with the deputy head tomorrow morning and if needs be I will go to the board of management which will be interesting considering the local parish priest is the head of it as it is one of the 92% of primary schools which due to the patronage system has the majority of ‘local’ primary school being paid for by the state but on church lands and run according to church rules and cannon law which seems to include using the school and it’s teachers to gather personal data on non church members.