ETB schools must respect human rights and stop indoctrinating students into religion
The European Court has said that not respecting parents convictions in the education system is pursuing an aim of indoctrination.
One of the main aims of the State Religious Education course is to contribute to the moral and spiritual of all students through religion.
Contributing to the moral and spiritual development of students from Atheist and secular families through religious education is indoctrination.
The state Religious Education course is not an objective course about religions and beliefs, and it was never meant to be. It was always meant to be an optional course.
ETBs that refuse to implement the New Circular Letter from the Dept of Education on opting out of this course and choosing another subject are breaching the Education Act.
They are also failing in their positive duty to protect human rights under Section 42 of the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission Act.
ETBs are supposed to be the alternative to denominational schools. They are supposed to be public schools that are inclusive, promote pluralism and protect human rights.
Unfortunately, ETBs promote disrespect for minorities and undermine their constitutional and human rights by refusing to take on board their positive duty to uphold human rights.
Most ETBs make religion compulsory or a core subject. Those policies are in place to either force or coerce students into religion.
Implementing the Circular Letter from the Dept of Education would have shown that the ETBs were willing to move forward and recognise that minorities have rights and that they were willing to embrace and guarantee those rights.