The Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship (LCF) is advocating for Christian worship to remain in the country’s educational institutions, following an announcement by the Education Ministry that protocols will need to be developed for devotions.
The announcement by Education Minister, Fayval Williams, follows a spiritual encounter at the Oberlin High School in St. Andrew on Wednesday, October 26 where students started falling and screaming during devotion after a teacher was granted permission to deliver “a Word”.
Prior to this incident, there were calls for devotions to be scrapped in schools, given the plurality of the student body in places of learning.
“We should not yield any ground to arguments which favour the removal of God from our schools,” said president of the LCF, Helene Coley-Nicholson.
Coley-Nicholson said there should be a recognition of the moral and legal foundation on which our schools are built and which, generally, still exists.
“Jamaica has had the advantage of watching other countries dismantle the moral floorboards and observing the negative impacts on children and families. There has been qualitative and quantitative decline. It is to our credit that, culturally, we remain committed to the continuation of Christian worship in our educational institutions,” she said.
The LCF president pointed to principles in the law that recognise the welfare of the child as being a priority. This welfare takes into consideration the moral and religious well-being of the minor. As such, in divorce proceedings, for example, arrangements for a child’s religious upbringing are considered and judges are empowered to enquire into such matters as to where a child/children will worship.
The Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) has also made clear its position that devotions must remain in schools. The association noted that devotions are provided for by law, as reflected in the Education Act of 1965.