Anger over Satanism lesson

2008-08-29 14:56

Johannesburg - The parents of some of the Grade 11 pupils of Dr EG Jansen High School on the East Rand are upset about the life orientation syllabus, which provides 17 pages of elaborate information about Satanism in a textbook.

A parent fumed on Thursday over the "absolute rubbish" to which pupils were exposed in the curriculum.

"It is because of this kind of thing that children's curiosity is sparked and they begin experimenting with the wrong things, which can lead to incidents such as the recent sword attack at a school," the father said.

The particular chapter of the Grade 11 textbook, which was made available to Beeld, included a prayer to Satan, an extensive description of the church of Satan as an organisation, an oath of devotion which can be made to Satan, the laws and rules of the church of Satan, verses out of the Satanic bible, as well as Satanic symbols and their meanings.

'Extremely dangerous'

The parent said that schools were busy with "extremely dangerous things" if they exposed children to this.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's irresponsible. I don't have a problem if a lesson refers to Satanism by way of explanation, but to discuss it in so much detail is unacceptable."

The school principal, Gallie Maré, said the information was available to everyone in textbooks and on the internet.

"We brought all the Grade 11s and a priest, who knows a lot about the subject, together to explain the complicated part of the curriculum to them and to give them the necessary guidance."

Maré said pupils were exposed to dangers everyday and had to be equipped to handle them.

An educational psychologist, Professor Kobus Maree of Pretoria, who regularly worked with adolescents, said that children were exposed to all sorts of things on MXit, on the internet, in shopping centres and in the media, and it was actually essential that they received an "educational, corrective perspective" on something like Satanism.

"Whether parents like it or not, their children come into contact with it and it is better that they receive the right information.

"Parents themselves should obtain information so they can answer their children's questions."