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Scrapping school chaplains is an ideological decision without any winners

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The decision of the ACT Labor/Greens government to end the Commonwealth-funded National School Chaplaincy Program in ACT Public Schools appears to be putting anti-religious ideology over the best interests of children in our public schools.

When the Howard government created the National School Chaplaincy Program in 2006, it was created to fill a significant gap in the services available to school students. John Howard observed that chaplains would be "expected to provide pastoral care and spiritual guidance and support, comfort, advice in family breakdown situations (and) support for students grief-stricken by the loss of friends in tragic accidents, or the loss of family members."

ACT Liberal senator Zed Seselja. Picture: Jamila Toderas

Over the years I have heard from parents, principals, teachers, and students, who have all highlighted to me the value of the program. They've all recounted how, in their own experiences, the program has helped so many students deal with the pressures that life throws at them, and helped our wonderful teachers in their role in caring for our kids.

I spoke recently with a young woman who shared her story. She said her school life was dominated by what house her family........

© Canberra Times