A single mother has reportedly been banned from stepping foot onto the grounds of the school her son attends after she objected to their demand that he say a pledge each morning starting with the phrase, “I love God.”
According to The Herald Sun, the mother, who asked to be referred to only as Alex, says she was given a trespassing order by the school that forbids her from stepping on to grounds. Alex reportedly put up a fight against the school when they insisted that her 6-year-old son say the pledge that includes the phrase, “I love God.” The single mother also took issue with the way that the school ran their special religious instruction program.
The trespass order reportedly says that Alex, “has shown a constant disregard and disrespect for staff members at the school and school procedure.” The order goes on to say that, “The behaviour you have exhibited has been extremely intimidating and poses a threat to the health and safety of my staff.”
The order, which was signed by Principal Esther Wood on November 12, alleges that the single mother’s behavior on school grounds amidst the battle over the pledge and religious instruction was inappropriate, but Alex says that the order has negatively affected her son’s school experience.
“He has cried and wants to see me at the school,” Alex said of her son.
The Australian school has come under fire for issuing the trespassing order, and as noted on Reddit, a university professor commented on the Herald Sun’s report alleging that principal’s actions were too harsh.
“Being very familiar with the school and its principal and also the details behind the story I can assure the readers here that Alex is being harshly treated by a principal who has very close links to the fundamentalist ACCESS Ministries responsible for 95% of all SRI in Victoria,” wrote a commenter named David, who one Reddit user identifies as Dr. David Zyngier of Monash University. “Alex has been the target of long running campaign by the school leader attempting to move her and her child out of the school. There have been many complaints written by Alex and others to the DEECD about the way SRI is conducted at the school. As a former principal I can assure readers that use of a trespass order would be only a last resort for potentially violent parents not to be used against a single mum of a prep child.”
Alex says that she’s currently pursuing legal action against the school for the order.