Chaplains To Be Banned From Public Schools In Canberra
The ACT government will ban chaplains from public schools in Canberra from the end of the year by withdrawing from the School Chaplaincy program.
ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry says the territory's Education Act mandated that public schools were secular, and that any chaplains currently employed could stay but would have no authority to teach religion.
"They're employed to continue to do that youth work and social work, which is important but that is conducted in non-religious way," she told the ABC on Friday.
Non-government schools would not be affected.
The Federal government has provided $247 million to support the voluntary opt-in program through to 2022 but requires workers to have a religious affiliation.
School Chaplaincy ACT accused the ACT government of attempting "state control over how students form their worldview" and have asked them to reconsider their decision.
"Even secular learning and wellbeing frameworks recognise the importance of spiritual support as part of achieving student wellbeing and educational outcomes, said CEO Peter James.
"The fact that so many schools choose to be part of chaplaincy speaks for the success of the program."
Of the 150 schools in the ACT chaplains are currently employed in about 20.