It is now official, students at a Christian School, have been banned by town officials following a visit from saying grace at mealtimes, talking about the Bible, or even saying “Amen”. The town’s supervisors in charge of education noted that the Christian activities violate the countries educational policies, according to a report on Swedish National Broadcaster, STV.
Officials explained that Sweden’s Education Act prohibits schools from having confessional elements during school time and says children should be able to opt-out of religious practices. It was the opinion of the Inspectors that the preschool, which is ran by the Salvation Army, didn’t allow the children involved the option not to participate in religious acts such as prayer before a meal.
But during an interview, the manager of the Kindergarten, Britt Marie Mårtensson, said it was her position that Sweden’s Education Act “can be interpreted in different ways” and didn’t believe that saying grace at mealtimes constituted “education”. She added that the children learn at their desks, so we thought we would; “add grace as a nice feature during mealtimes. We interpreted the law differently from the municipality.”
In what appears to be an attempt to tell city officials to stuff it, Ms Martensson told the reporter that now the children sing a rhyme and give thanks the sun, the rain, and the food at mealtimes. “It’s sad because grace is a tradition, but the rhyme is also nice and it allows the kids to choose to whom and what they want to give thanks,” she added.
But Banning prayers was not the only little gift the city’s educational supervisors gave the school, they also barred personnel from having “Bible Snacktimes” where children and teachers talk about the Bible. Maybe in a taxpayer funded school these new rules would be okay. But remember, the school in question is a religious based one ran by a quasi-religious organization and I am sure that is why many parents have chosen to send their children there in the first place.
Meanwhile, A preschool strategy planner for the city, Pian Rosell, said she stood by the inspectors decision but admitted that when it came to Preschools, the country’s Education Act isn’t very clear. “It isn’t as hard to distinguish between activities which are educational and ones which aren’t in elementary schools, because teaching happens in class, whereas when it comes to kindergartens it can be difficult to tell,” she said.