A student’s candid reaction to the ALRC’s proposals

Nearly 1,000 people have written to their MP in response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s proposals for Christian schools. One message grabbed our attention not only because it came from a student but also because of its candour. 

Katie (not her real name, to protect her identity) is from northern NSW and the message to her MP starts out like this:

“Not sure if anyone will even read this but whatevs. I’m also not a parent and don’t intend to be, but I go to a Christian school.”

Katie gets straight to the point:

“I honestly can’t believe the proposals the Australian Law Reform Commission has outlined for Christian schools like mine, to be perfectly blunt. I realise the country is becoming more secular, but that doesn’t mean that those with religious beliefs should not live as they want to live. What on earth would be the point of having an atheist/agnostic/other religious affiliation teacher teaching at a school with core values they don’t even believe? It would be super awkward for them more than anyone else. Makes me cringe to think of it.”

Christian schools are different and this is good news in a culture that values diversity. The faith of teachers and staff shapes how students see the world and go on to make a difference in the world. This is something to be valued not watered down and this is the theme that Katie picks up on next:

“Also, school is more than just academic education, it affects how people see the world, and I think if we accept that everyone has different views yet still tolerate each other we show more capability than if we just made everyone blur together and put a “non-discriminatory” sticker over it. I for one don’t want to live in a society that favours groupthink over diverse worldviews. It doesn’t mean we are judgemental and discriminatory just because we want a specific education.”

Katie is speaking from the heart. Her words are unedited. Her message and tone oozes authenticity, passion and yes, a degree of cynicism. She concludes: 

“In case anyone read this, thanks. I honestly wish fancy Parliament people would use their influence for things that actually need attention though, so the world in general would benefit rather than picking fights with people who don’t appeal to the utopia we apparently want (not to sound like a hippie, but it’d be great if people could work more on ending animal abuse and saving the environment while we’ve still got it, please, but that isn’t going happen). I appreciate they are letting us have a say, though, that was nice.”

The good news for Katie is that politicians are listening. They are hearing about how the  living faith of teachers and staff leads Aussie kids to serve in communities, families and industries.  

Our political representatives need to hear your story, too. If you haven’t done so already, please follow Katie’s example and send a quick message to your MP.