Draft letter for parents to send to TDs seeking Statutory Guidelines on religion in schools
Here is a draft letter to send to your TDs seeking Statutory Guidelines on religion in schools. You can copy and paste the text and add in any information that you want about your own circumstances. The letter explains why this is topical at the moment. If you get a response from your local TD, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
Dear (name of TD or Senator)
I am writing to you to ask that you support the introduction of Statutory Guidelines on religion in schools in order to guarantee the Constitutional and Human Rights of minorities in the Education system. There is a need to rebalance Constitutional rights regarding religion in schools.
These Statutory Guidelines should include practical solutions to the following rights:
The right to not attend religious instruction (Article 44.2.4)
The right to a basic moral education without religious influence (Article 42.3.2)
The right to objective sex education
The right to access secular subjects without religious influence and
The right to not have religion integrated into the time allocated for secular subjects during preparation for religious ceremonies.
Here is a link to a Legal Opinion obtained by Atheist Ireland on the right to not attend religious instruction under Article 44.2.4 of the Irish Constitution.
Here is a link to some background information on key issues in the education system.
Under Article 44.2.4 of the Constitution, children have a right to not attend religious instruction classes. This includes the right at a minimum to being supervised outside of the classroom with s decent legal argument for the right to another timetabled subject.
Under Article 42.3.2 of the Constitution all children have a right to a basic moral education. Children who exercise their Constitutional Right to not attend religion class have no access to a basic moral education.
The 1999 Framework on the Primary school curriculum is now being updated by the NCCA. There is an opportunity here to ensure that religion is no longer integrated into curriculum subjects and particularly Relationship and Sexuality Education.
The Programme for Government (p 95-96) includes an objective curriculum on ERB and ethics, as recommended by the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in 2011. It aims to develop inclusive and age appropriate RSE and SPHE and to make appropriate legislative changes. It also supports a Constitutional Assembly on Education and access to the teaching profession for minorities.
Parents have absolute rights under the Constitution, and putting in place Statutory Guidelines on religion in schools would give practical application to the Constitutional and Human Rights of all families in the education system. I look forward to hearing your response to this request.