Special Needs Assistants must evangelise vulnerable children in Irish schools

by Michael Nugent on July 19, 2015

Special Needs Assistants evangeliseSpecial Needs Assistants must evangelise vulnerable children in State-funded Irish schools. It is not an occupational requirement of a Special Needs Assistant to teach religion, but they still must be prepared to evangelise vulnerable children into a religious way of life.

This is a breach of the right of atheist and minority faith Special Needs Assistants to access employment in most national primary schools without acting against their conscience, as well as a breach of the human rights of atheist and minority faith families who have children with special needs.

You can read here about how Irish school teachers must be missionaries for the Catholic Church.

Today Atheist Ireland has published the employment criteria of a State-funded Irish school for Special Needs Assistants. This shows that the requirement to be a missionary for the Catholic Church is not just confined to all teachers, but applies to Special Needs Assistants as well.

Not only is ethos ahead of experience and qualifications, but there is no elaboration on experience and qualifications in the way there is for ethos. There is unlikely to be a parent in Ireland who believes the main purpose of a Special Needs Assistant is to evangelise vulnerable children into a religious way of life.

The wording of the interview criteria

“Criterea for position of Special Needs Assistant

Criterion 1 – Ethos

[name of school] is a Roman Catholic School. A Roman Catholic School (which is established in connection with the Minister) aims at promoting the full and harmonious development of all aspects of the person of the pupil: intellectual, physical, cultural, moral and spiritual. This includes a living relationship with God and with other people.

The school models and promotes a philosophy of life inspired by belief in God and the life,d eat and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Catholic school provides religious education for the pupils in accordance with the doctrines, practices and traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and promotes the formation of the pupils in the Catholic faith.

Criterion 2 – Experience and Qualifications

Criterion 3 – Flexibility and Team Work

Criterion 4 – Suitability for Appointment (skills and qualities that could be brought to our school)”

Please help stop evangelising vulnerable children in schools

You can read more details on the Atheist Ireland website about how the Irish State endorses this practice.

Please lobby your local TDs and ask them to stop the Catholic Church evangelising vulnerable children. Tell them that it is not the job of a Special Needs Assistant to be a missionary for the Catholic Church.

Atheist Ireland is campaigning to change these unjust laws and to promote equality. Please help us to do so. If you would like to get involved in our campaign, please email us at humanrights@atheist.ie.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nialler July 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Mails sent to all party leaders.

I’ve noted in them that all children are vulnerable, not merely those with special needs.

Many children with special needs are actually more robust intellectually depending on the nature of their health issues.

Children are sponges ready to accept hat comes from authoritative sources and ready to defend it as truth in a very strong manner.

Can I suggest that a campaign which could run in parallel with this would be to demand the teaching of Philosophy in schools? This would include Formal Logic, and might induce some, gasp, free thought in students.

I hate to repeatedly bang the red white and blue drum, but one of the reasons I live in France is because I would not allow my children to be educated in Ireland. Philosophy is a mandatory subject here. Children are taught *how* to think rather than *what* to think.

I think that it would be a revolutionary concept in Ireland, but something such as formal logic carries benefits across multiple disciplines, and the philosophy of science should also be an integral part of the science curriculum.

I remember people oohing and aahing when it was revealed that Cantona had read writers such as Rimbaud. That’s not the mark of an intellectual here. Rimbaud and others are part of the school syllabus.

AI’s focus on the staffing of the education system is welcome. It might also be valid to examine the curriculum.

That said, it would probably be interpreted as AI demanding not simply who educates, but what they teach. Still, it’s worth considering.

2 Citizen Wolf July 23, 2015 at 11:52 am

Nialler
**all children are vulnerable, not merely those with special needs**
This is true.

**Can I suggest that a campaign which could run in parallel with this would be to demand the teaching of Philosophy in schools?**
This would be something I’d agree with also. Although, perhaps the word ‘seek’ should be used instead of ‘demand’.

3 Nialler July 25, 2015 at 9:23 am

“seek” is indeed a far better word.

4 Kirbmarc August 3, 2015 at 12:43 pm

“Can I suggest that a campaign which could run in parallel with this would be to demand the teaching of Philosophy in schools? This would include Formal Logic, and might induce some, gasp, free thought in students.”

That’s probably the most effective of changing the education in your country for the better.

All countries should start teaching Philosophy in school, starting with some age-adequate introduction to formal logic in elementary schools.

Schools should be all about teaching skills, like critical and creative thinking, more than notions. Especially since knowing how to organize your notions is far more important than memorizing random items in the age of the Internet, which is the biggest source of notions ever invented but it’s flooded by falsehoods and fallacious reasoning.

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