Schools can lend rooms to Christian school teams – Vårt Land

Schools can lend rooms to Christian school teams – Vårt Land

At Nydalen High School in Oslo, they have knitting, chess and yoga clubs during school hours. But when Elif Hinchcliffe, 18, asked the principal to borrow a room for a Christian school team, he wasn't told earlier this year, Fartland recently wrote.

In her refusal, school principal Lynn Seery Jensen cited “clear instructions from the city council” that religious meetings should not be arranged in schools.

For Vårt Land, the principal explained that she was referring to the guidelines issued by the Norwegian Education Agency in Oslo, as expressed on the Oslo schools' intranet – “Tavla”:

– It says that schools are not obligated to create their own prayer rooms, and that it is up to the school even if it wants to lend vacant rooms, Jensen told the newspaper before Easter.

Now the Oslo school board has a statement on the matter. Vårt Land asked Julie Remmen Midtgaarden (h) how to understand the above guidelines, as well as whether they could be used as a basis for rejecting Christian school teams.

She answers:

Current practice means that schools can provide free rooms for such activities, as long as the activity is voluntary and initiated by the students themselves, Midtgaarden wrote in an email to the newspaper.

“excessive suspicion”

KrF City Council representative in Oslo, Øyvind Håbrekke, was among those who reacted to the fact that it is not open to school teams at Nydalen High School. He believes that “it is clear that the school administration views religious activities with more suspicion.”

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However, Habrycki believes the varsity team's rejection will become history.

In October last year, a cooperation agreement was put forward to the new bourgeois city council that will govern Oslo for the next few years. The conservatives and liberals will govern, with the support of the Frp and KrF parties.

One of the 36 points in the agreement stipulates that the city council must follow up on the Bakevig Committee's recommendation on the faith and philosophy policy proposal for the municipality of Oslo.

Among other things, this will mean that school leaders must find good solutions for student-initiated religious assemblies, Fartland wrote.

Oslo 20230926. Øyvind Håbrekke (Krf) outside Høyre's home as Høyre called Frp, Venstre and Krf to city council negotiations in Oslo on Tuesday.  Photo: Annika Baird/NTB

I am concerned that the school should facilitate good dialogue with pupils in assessing the different types of pupil-initiated activities that should be facilitated in the school.

Julie Remen Midtgaarden, Oslo School Board

– Good dialogue

School counselor Julie Remen-Midtgaarden points out that the Backvig Commission's report addresses several key questions regarding schools, including the question of the extent to which religion should be practiced in schools.

– I am concerned that the school should facilitate good dialogue with pupils in evaluating the different types of pupil-initiated activities that should be facilitated in the school. We are working on this in action by following up on the Bakkevig Commission report and cooperation agreement, writes Remen Midtgarden in Vårt Land.

School principal Linn-Siri Jensen does not want to comment on Håbrekke's criticism.

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Al-Nidalin Secondary School was the most affected by the strike.  A total of 61 employees were taken out of here on strike.  Photo: Audun Brastad/NTB
Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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