Note: if you have not already done so, please also read our introductory page of key facts about opting your child out of religious education classes.

This letter should be addressed to the principal. If you do not get a reply within two weeks send the letter to the Board of Management.

If they do not reply you can contact the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, contact details are here. You can also contact the Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission here. You can also make a complaint to the Department of Education as it is the Minister for Educaiton that is legally responsible under the Education Act 1998.

Dear

I wish to exercise my Constitutional Right under Article 44.2.4 for my child to not attend Religious instruction classes.

Section 30 – 2 (e) of the Education Act 1998 reads: “Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Minister – shall not require any student to attend instruction in any subject which is contrary to the conscience of the parent of the student or, in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student.”

Rule 69 – 2(a) of the Rules for National schools states that:-
“No pupil shall receive, or be present at, any religious instruction of which his parents or guardians disapprove”

As the Religion class, religious formation and religious services are contrary to my conscience, I wish to ensure that (child’s name) does not attend. Please confirm this in writing and please do not discuss this matter with my child.

Schools that provide religious instruction must also put the detailed arrangements for those not attending in their Admission Policies as per Section 62(7)(n) Education (Admissions) to Schools Act 2018).

The provision commenced on 1st February 2020 and requires schools to:-

(i) put in place arrangements for students wishing to not attend religious instruction,
(ii) to ensure that those arrangements do not result in a reduction of the school day, and
(iii) that such arrangements are documented.

I/We would also like to point out that under GDPR requirements there is no need for any school to ask our religious affiliation or whether we have any religious affiliation.  There is also a requirement not to put us in a position where we would have to reveal our convictions in order to ensure our child does not attend religion classes.

Please let us know the suprvision arrangements for my child outside the religion class.

Yours faithfully,

 

The following sample letter is for religious parents who wish to ensure that their child does not attend religion teaching classes,  formation and religious services.

Dear,

I wish to exercise my Constitutional Right under Article 44.2.4 to ensure my child does not attend any Religious teaching, formation and any Religious services.

Section 30 – 2 (e) of the Education Act 1998 reads: “Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Minister – shall not require any student to attend instruction in any subject which is contrary to the conscience of the parent of the student or, in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student.”

In addition Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that:-

“ States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. “

The Guidelines for the Inclusion of other faiths in Catholic schools recognises that there is a right to opt out of religion in second level schools and of course this can only apply to primary level as well. On page 11 it states that:-

“Withdrawal from RE Class.

Some parents, however, do have concerns and may wish to withdraw their child from RE class, as is their constitutional right.

A student cannot be required to receive religious education from a particular faith basis against the wishes of the student’s parents or against his or her own wishes once he or she turns eighteen years of age. However, withdrawal from religion class needs to be negotiated with school management and hopefully addressed during their enrolment meeting.”

http://www.schoolethos.ie/webfm_send/718

I wish to ensure  (child’s name) does not attend this class. Please confirm this in writing and I would ask you not to discuss this matter with my child.

I/We would also like to point out that under GDPR requirements there is no need for any school to ask our religious affiliation or whether we have any religious affiliation.  There is also a requirement not to put us in a position where we would have to reveal our convictions in order to opt out our child.

Yours faithfully,

 

The following letter is for parents who wish to opt out their child from the Goodness Me Goodness you course in ETB Community National Schools

 

Dear,

I wish to exercise my Constitutional rights under Articles 44.2.4, Article 42.1 to ensure my child does not attend any religious teaching, celebrations and any teaching that is against my conscience and that I disapprove of.

Section 30 – 2 (e) of the Education Act 1998 reads: “Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Minister – shall not require any student to attend instruction in any subject which is contrary to the conscience of the parent of the student or, in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student.”

Rule 69 – 2(a) of the Rules for National schools states that:-

“No pupil shall receive, or be present at, any religious instruction of which his parents or guardians disapprove”

As the Goodness Me Goodness You Course is against my conscience, I wish to ensure that (child’s name) does not attend this course and any celebrations connected with the course. Please confirm this in writing and I would ask you not to discuss this with my child.

I/We would also like to point out that under GDPR requirements there is no need for any school to ask our religious affiliation or whether we have any religious affiliation.  There is also a requirement not to put us in a position where we would have to reveal our convictions in order to opt out our child.

Yours faithfully,

 

7 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Patrick Gormley September 01, 2016

    The other problem with religious schools is how you are treated if your parent or little brother or sister or friend dies.

    Others have it worse than you.

    God wanted him more than you.

    Heaven needed another angel.

    God will never give you more than you can handle.

    The above comments are judgemental. But do the comments matter as much as the attitude of the person saying them? No. The attitude is the problem. We have to realise that faith in a God who creates and thus controls all and who uses evil to work out a plan for good leads to the above comments and the judgemental attitude they express. I do not find God or religion helpful but offensive in the face of loss and death. I know a priest for example will represent the attitude which is why I wouldn’t want to see one coming in the door when somebody I love dies.

    The higher power is that part of yourself where you get the energy to work on after a devastating defeat. It is not an outside help. You cannot trust an outside help as much as the help you experience that comes from within yourself for yourself. That is down to the fact that you cannot know anybody else the way you know yourself. The argument that you need to believe in a helpful God is odd. Nobody gives you help – you have to turn their efforts into help. That is what makes them help. All help is self-help. God allegedly uses evil and suffering to do good with them. So you could help yourself and be doing the wrong thing for you need to suffer or something. Self-help is self-assertion – it tells God if there is one that you will help yourself and if he does not want you to you will do it regardless. If God loves you and is your king that is a benign dictatorship and that is not nice.Real faith is faith in yourself. It alone can protect you when faith in God lets you down or when faith in others leads to disappointment and loss. To lose faith in God can and should mean you gain faith in yourself.

    Faith in God is faith in yourself in the sense that you make that faith and you feed it so you trust your heart and morals to respond to the God you are told is there in faith. But why not just have faith in yourself? Faith in God that is really faith in yourself is therefore based on a lie. You pretend it is about God and not you. And to imagine your faith can connect you to the ruler of the universe and give you a line to him is too much. Prideful faith comes before a fall. And faith in God can be an idol when it is about what you want to believe not what you must believe. You cannot know if Mother Teresa loved God or faith in God. Faith can become an idol.

    Reply

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