A New Zealand legal battle could result in religious studies being removed from the public educational system. A family is demanding the repeal of Section 78 of the Education Act, which would lead to the removal of religious studies from schools.
Jeff McClintock started the legal battle after his daughter Violet was forced to sit on the floor in the corner after he chose to remove her from religious studies in school. Families have the ability to opt out, but McClintock claims that children who do not participate are treated differently and sometimes even punished for opting out.
Richard Francois, the family's lawyer, said that schools sometimes force children who are not participating to clean up garbage or wash dishes. Francois claims that Section 78 of the Education Act, which allows for an hour of religious studies, violates the country's Bill of Rights.
According to the NZ Herald, Francois also claims that the hour spent on religious studies undermines the overall education that children receive in school. He said, "The kids are simply missing out [on] class time each week which they're entitled to."
Christian Today reported that The Churches Education Commission, which provides religious studies for more than 660 schools, would appear in court to produce evidence supporting the need for religious studies.
Spokeswoman Debra Hunt said, "It seems only fair that we are allowed to have a say in this important case, which could have many implications."