Griffith University Skeptics and Freethinkers

Australia’s National School Chaplaincy program funded chaplains providing mental health programmes to Aussie state school children.

In Ethics in Schools, Helping our community., Responses to the media on September 24, 2010 at 12:22 PM

During the Seven Network ‘Sunrise’ programme on Wednesday September 22, 2010, Scripture Union Queensland CEO Tim Mander made the following comment:

“look, it’s important to note that school chaplains aren’t counsellors. They are there for pastoral care of kids. Now the nature of chaplaincy means that often, they are the first point of contact for kids who are dealing with some sort of life issues. Now our chaplains are trained to identify those issues that are more complex and that require professional intervention and then obviously refer them on to the experts. The policy with chaplains is ‘refer’, ‘refer’, ‘refer’, and if in doubt, ‘refer’. So I think there’s a lot of alarmist type of misinformation going around about how chaplains work in schools”.

On page 3 of the October 2009 edition of the Uniting Church ‘Journey’ magazine, Tim Mander was quoted thus:

Tim Mander, Scripture Union (SU) Qld CEO said Stock Up For Hope would also raise vital funds for school chaplaincy services in rural and regional Queensland. “Our school chaplains are finding themselves supporting students through issues such as parental separation, depression, financial problems, and even suicide,” he said. “Many chaplains have found they’ve replaced counselling or welfare services, and they’re not just providing support to students either – that essential assistance and moral support is extending to family members as well. “But they’re making sensational inroads in bringing young people, their families, and entire communities, into a closer relationship with God.

For some time in Queensland, members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) have been training Scripture Union NSCP funded public school chaplains to provide a depression/suicide prevention programme known as ‘Friends for Life’ across entire state school classes from Prep year upward.

This has been confirmed in writing by Dr. Paula Barrett’s ‘Pathways’ organisation.

Since ‘Friends for Life’ is not considered to be ‘religious’, under the ‘new’ Education Queensland chaplaincy policy (completely unsupported by legislation), there is no formal method by which parents can exclude their children from exposure to NSCP funded Scripture Union chaplains during ‘Friends for Life’ as well as the scores of other programmes and activities deemed ‘non-religious’ by arbiters unknown. This has been confirmed in writing by Education Queensland.

Source: Australian Secular Lobby

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