Making news this week, SRI classes get overhauled, schools mark White Ribbon Day and a sacked teacher wins a discrimination case.
New guidelines for Special Religious Instruction (SRI) classes in Victoria’s schools were unveiled this week by the Andrews Government. Under the new guidelines, which come into effect in January, the classes will be delivered outside school hours or at lunchtime and must not include the singing of hymns or use of any holy books, such as the Bible and the Qu’ran. Victoria’s largest provider of Special Religious Instruction (SRI) in state schools has slammed the government’s changes to the classes as “confusing” and “dangerous”.
Also making news this week, the NSW Government announced domestic violence prevention kits would be distributed to state schools to teach children how to better protect themselves and their family members from abuse at home. The NSW Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Pru Goward, said directly targeting the issue of domestic violence in classrooms would allow students to better protect themselves and others. The announcement came as schools around the country marked White Ribbon Day, raising awareness about the scourge of domestic violence.
Finally, a teacher who lost his job after a relationship with a former student will be paid $90,000 in compensation by the school that sacked him. The decision was handed down by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) after it was found his school discriminated against him. Padua College, located in Mornington, Victoria, has now been ordered to pay teacher, John Martin, $80,000 for economic loss and $10,000 for pain and suffering. Martin, who had worked at the school for 17 years, was sacked in 2013 after the principal discovered he was in a relationship with an 18-year-old former student. However, VCAT senior member, Noreen Megay, found that in terminating Martin's employment the school discriminated against him and treated him unfavourably, as the sexual activity between Martin and the former student was lawful.