Concert cancellation was a 'misunderstanding', says mother

A GYMPIE mother at the centre of an explosive online debate concerning the delivery of religious instruction in state schools has welcomed the discussion.

But the mother, wishing to remain anonymous in the face of growing vitriol, believes a lot of the backlash comes down to misunderstanding.

The Gympie Times ran a story yesterday on the State Government's decision to ban state primary school attendance at a Victory College Christmas concert scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

The mother said she first contacted Education Queensland to query the opt-out approach her school took with students' attending a separate Christmas service.

"I did not ring to complain," the mother said.

"I phoned for clarification about how students had to opt-out of the trip instead of opt-in.

"It should not just be assumed every student wants to go."

It then appears, on the mother's account, this query prompted Education Queensland to review its own legislation, leading to the cancellation of the Victory College Christmas concert and two other concerts also planned.

The Gympie Times contacted the Queensland Education Department for clarification on Thursday and was told the Victory College concert was banned due to "not satisfying the definition of Religious Instruction as per the Queensland education legislation or the Department of Education Training and Employment's Religious Instruction policy statement".

Gympie Ministers' Network chairman Dave Thomas said the legal technicality that denied Gympie state primary schools the opportunity to attend the Victory College Christmas concert, also impacted similar concerts planned for two other venues over two days.

"There were two sticking points, including (the fact that) the concerts would go for more than an hour taking into account travel time and that the religious instruction was taking place outside the school environment," Mr Thomas said.

He said it was "unfortunate" the concerts would not go ahead as planned but stressed the events were planned as part of the existing religious instruction in primary school and were the program's final instalment for the year.

"This has become about the letter of the law but I would hope some logic would prevail," he said.

The spirit of the law also needed to be taken into account, Mr Thomas said, hoping a solution could be reached next year that would satisfy all parties.

Gympie Times


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