We’ve been contacted by a number of parents concerned about a new programme called ‘Mindfulness’ which is being trialled in a number of schools around NZ.
You can read more about the concerns expressed about the programme HERE (Investigate) and HERE (Southland Times) and HERE “The Messy Truth about Mindfulness“. To be fair, there are also complements for the programme HERE (NZ Herald). There is very little research on the effectiveness of the programme in a classroom setting. One study said “there is no generalised empirical evidence of the efficacy of these interventions.”
We also received an excellent review of the programme by a concerned parent who sat in on one of the ‘classes’. READ HERE
What is significant is that this programme is being pushed in schools at the same time as Bible-in-schools comes under attack by small groups such as the Secular Education Network – and these same groups suddenly go quiet. It’s called ‘selective offence’ – or hypocrisy!
We also note that the Australian government has just released a major review of the education curriculum, calling for teachers to go ‘back to basics’ on grammar, punctuation and reading. It also says that western civilisation is being demonised in schools. But here’s the best bit –
“History should be revised in order to properly recognise the impact and significance of Australia’s Judaeo-Christian heritage.’’
The purpose of this email is simply to remind you of your rights as a parent which we would encourage you to exercise if you wish to. Do not allow the school to fob you off. Are you aware whether this programme is operating in your school?
Section 25A Release from tuition on religious or cultural grounds
(1) A student aged 16 and above, or the parent of a student aged under 16, may ask the principal to release the student from tuition in a particular class or subject.
(1A) A request under subsection (1) must be made in writing, and at least 24 hours before the start of the tuition.
(1B) This section applies only to students enrolled at a State school that is not an integrated school.
(2) Unless satisfied that—
(a) the parent or student (as the case may be) has asked because of sincerely held religious or cultural views; and
(b) the student will be adequately supervised (whether within or outside the school) during the tuition,—
the principal shall not release the student.
Note that the right applies based on the views of the family – irrespective of what the Ministry of Education may try and label the programme as. It applies to any class or subject which conflicts with your ‘sincerely held religious or cultural view’.
The HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION report “Religion in NZ Schools” says:
What does the Education Act say about religion in state primary schools? The effect of the Education Act 1964 is that schools do not have to provide religious instruction or observance, but they are permitted to do so under certain conditions. Whether a school includes religion in the day-to-day life of the school or not is up to the school’s Board of Trustees. If a school does provide religious instruction or observe religious customs it must be done in a way that allows students to opt out freely if they want to.
• Section 79 allows children to opt out if their parents do not wish them to participate in religious ceremonies or teaching.
We would encourage parents to exercise their right to withdraw their child/ren from the programme if they are concerned about the “Mindfulness” programme and the way it is operated in the school, in the same way that we would encourage parents to exercise the same right when groups like Family Planning and Rainbow Youth come in to schools with their dangerous and misleading sex education messages. More information on parents’ rights are on our website HERE
Please remember – it is parents and families, not the schools or the State, who are the Gatekeepers of our children’s minds and hearts.
National Director – Family First NZ