A Roman Catholic school in Ireland has been accused of discrimination after it allowed ‘homework passes’ for children who attended religious ceremonies.
Children at the Yellow Furze national school, Co Meath who didn’t attend the extra-curricular services were told they must complete their homework as normal.
One atheist parent made an official complaint, saying that her son was distraught after being ‘penalised’ for missing the service.
He was one of two children out of 33 in the class didn’t attend the ceremony and were refused a homework pass.
His mother told the Irish Times: “He came out of school crying. He told me the teacher had told the class that children who did not participate in the Communion choir would not receive a homework pass.
“On that day my son was the only child in the class who was not participating. He was also the only non-Catholic child in his class. We are atheist and this is not a choice that is open to him.”
The school has denied it discriminated against the boy, saying its policy was for children to be rewarded for ‘positive behaviour’ such as attending services.
A statement from the school said: “Any student, regardless of his/her religion in our school who opted not to participate in this extracurricular event was not ‘rewarded’.”
It added that the policy was not discriminatory towards non-Catholics because some Catholic children chose not to attend and also were denied their ‘reward’.
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling