Shepparton school leaders say chaplains are not employed to preach religion and are highly valued.JOHN LEWIS June 24, 2014 3:44am
Shepparton school principals have defended the role of chaplains, saying they provide important non-religious support for students and families.
Five High Court justices last week unanimously upheld a legal challenge against Federal Government funding arrangements for its school chaplaincy program.
Last month, the government set aside $245 million for the program during the next four years, but scrapped funding for non-religious counsellors.
Debate now continues about the funding model, specifically whether restrictions will be imposed and whether it should include secular welfare workers.
Shepparton principals say their non-secular chaplains play vital roles.
Shepparton High School principal Phil Squires said the school had had a chaplaincy program for 53 years.
‘‘They are part of the fabric of the school, they really are a key member,’’ Mr Squires said.
He said a school chaplain was employed five days a week and worked alongside a welfare co-ordinator and a school nurse.
Mr Squires said although a chaplain might have personal religious convictions, they were not employed to discuss or preach religion.
‘‘It’s not their role. They just have a set of caring values,’’ he said.
He said the school’s female chaplain had just been appointed to a teaching role and the school was looking for a new chaplain.
He said funding for the role was split between the Federal Government and the school.
Orrvale Primary School principal Adam Brennan said his school employed John Stewart as chaplain two days a week and parents must give permission for any religious discussion.
‘‘It’s another friendly face in the yard at recess or lunchtime. It’s an important role. Only five per cent would be religious,’’ Mr Brennan said.
Bourchier St Primary School principal Judy Park said chaplain Richard Poole was employed three days a week and was a highly valued staff member.
‘‘Every survey we send out comes back with positive comments about the work Richard does. He builds relationships with families, runs breakfasts and visits kids in hospital,’’ Ms Park said.
She said Mr Poole’s role was not a religious one.
‘‘He’s not teaching religious instruction at the school,’’ she said.
Hafizullah Mohaqiq was born in Afghanistan, spent periods living in Pakistan and Iran, before arriving in Shepparton two months ago.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Fairley Leadership Program met in Tatura on Wednesday, exploring ‘Water and our catchment’ at Goulburn Murray Water.
Road authorities have made little progress to fixing Echuca’s most dangerous intersections.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Deniliquin bowler Dennis O'Keefe lost 25-19 in his bid for a quarter-final spot in the Victorian Singles Championships this week.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.