Schools and faith
Sir, – It is deeply depressing to read in your newspaper that a school principal saw no other option but to resign over developments prioritising the children of “accustomed members” of the Church of Ireland for places in the school of which she had been principal for over 20 years (“Principal resigns from Greystones school over admissions row”, News, July 23rd). I know this school well as my own child attended there from 2001to 2009. During this period the school was welcoming and inclusive, with children of all faiths and none represented. I can appreciate how difficult it is for a school principal to make such a decision, and I commend her for her courage in taking this stand.
I know that currently the law allows “minority” faith schools to adopt this practice, but this encourages division and elitism. The role of a school should be to educate its students, not indoctrinate them. If parents wish a particular religious ethos for their child, then it should be provided in the home and in their church. By all means let children learn about religion in school, but impartially, and about all religions. Segregating children into schools according to a particular religion fosters misunderstanding and prejudice, as we have seen in Northern Ireland and, to an extent, here.
It is high time that the State disengaged itself from the churches. Ireland has come a very long way on the path of becoming a multicultural, modern, and accepting society, and taking this step is an important part in furthering that process. In these turbulent times of Trump, Brexit, creeping intolerance, and the rise of the far right, it is vital to embrace diversity and acceptance. – Yours, etc,