Humanist Society calls for reform on religious observance in schools

The Humanist Society Scotland has launched a legal challenge to allow children to opt out of attending relgious services in schools
The Humanist Society Scotland has launched a legal challenge to allow children to opt out of attending relgious services in schools

The Humanist Society Scotland are writing to Education Secretary John Swinney asking him to intervene after pupils at Taylor High in New Stevenston were punished for truanting when they failed to attend a religious service.

On September 30 a number of students skipped the Patron’s Day Mass, led by Bishop of Motherwell Joseph Toal,leading the school to hand out detentions.

A sixth year student affected said: “I believe it is unfair to have forced religious observance towards many pupils who may not be religious, me included.”

HSS chief executive Gordon MacRae believes there is urgent need to reform the “outdated” requirement for religious observance in Scottish state schools.

He said: “At a time when the Scottish Government is so focused on reform of our education system, the silence on this issue speaks volumes about how committed they are to children’s rights.”

The HSS recently launched a judicial review against the Scottish Government over its refusal to allow sixth-form pupils to opt out of religious services.

Mr MacRae added: “The Scottish Government is to appoint a QC to represent them against our judicial review.

“Parents across Scotland will be dumbfounded to learn that the Scottish Government is using senior lawyers, at their expense, to fight off our calls for progressive reform.”