Tuesday, 12 August 2014

"We're moving,"

an acquaintance told me. I don't know her well but we occasionally see one another in the library or at the supermarket. She sought my help some years ago when her first child was having problems learning to read and was also telling her he "hated" school.
I said the usual, "I'm sorry to hear that."
Her response surprised and alarmed me.
"We decided we needed to move so the children can change schools. We don't want them to get radicalised."
Her two children have been attending an Islamic faith school. It is some distance away and had she said they were moving closer I would not have been surprised.
But, move further away? They are, I think, quite devout. The husband has his own business. He can attend Friday prayer without difficulty. They observe Ramadan and buy their meat from a designated butcher.
I must have looked surprised because she sighed and said,
"Yes. It is something my husband thought long and hard about and then he raised it with me. It has taken us almost a year to come to the decision but we want the children to be Australians first. There are small things at the school which are making us nervous."
"How do the children feel about it?" I asked her.
"A....says he will be glad to get away. He was the one who alerted us really. He's never been really happy there but we thought we were doing the right thing. As for S.... well, she only started this year of course so I think it will be fine."
We chatted a bit more. I agreed they were making the right decision - and I think they are because they are not happy with the situation.
I asked about the school the children would be going to and it is in an almost country community. The school goes from pre-school through to year 12.
Her husband arrived to pick her up as we were talking. He has said very little to me in the past. I was never sure whether he was arrogant or shy. Yesterday he repeated what his wife had just told me.
"I trust we are doing the right thing. The new school looks very good to us."
"I'm sure it is. I know it has an excellent reputation," I told him - and it has.
"And several cricket teams!"
We all laughed at that. Their son is a very keen cricket player but his old school does not have a team.
"It will be good for A... if he can find some friends with boys who play like that," his father said, "And there is a special maths class. He's doing very well at that."
And what about the children's religious education? I didn't ask but I think they will get a good moral education from their parents.
Yes, a good move.  

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