Italian Headteacher Ends School Prayers, Stirs Controversy Nationwide

The educator removed religious statues from classrooms and asked that students not sing hymns before meals.

The following article appears on The Local. 

People across Italy are weighing in on a headteacher’s decision to stop saying prayers and remove Catholic statues at a school in Sicily.

Nicolò La Rocca, headmaster of the Ragusa Moleti primary school in Palermo, issued a circular on Thursday morning instructing teachers that they should no longer ask children to say prayers or sing hymns before meals or at the beginning of class.

He also removed a statue of the Virgin Mary and other Catholic icons from display, including pictures of Pope Francis, reported La Repubblica.

The newspaper, which filmed a video report from the school, said that the statues were now placed on a windowsill in the toilets.

La Rocca said that he acted in response to complaints from parents that certain statues were in the way. “They were simply two very cumbersome statues,” he told La Repubblica.

“An enormous Buddha would have caused problems too, no?”

Some mothers told the paper that they would protest the head’s decision.

Yet La Rocca has Italian law on his side: as he pointed out in his circular, a 2009 opinion from the state’s lawyers ruled that religious rites should not be conducted at schools during lesson time. Continue reading at The Local. 

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