Row over hymn-singing in primary schools

A row has broken out over children being made to sing hymns in a primary school in Lower Austria.

Row over hymn-singing in primary schools
One of Austria's best-known choirs - the Vienna Boys Choir. Photo: Wikimedia

A senior official from the Regional School Board, who banned the singing of hymns in music classes has now been moved to a different department due to a "lack of trust", according to the President of the State Board of Education, Hermann Helm.

A row erupted after some parents criticised the fact that hymns were being sung in music classes, as well as in religious education classes at a primary school in Tulln. 

One family was particularly keen for their daughter to have a non-denominational education. 

"We told parents that if they didn't want their children to sing religious songs in music lessons, they could always participate in another class," headmistress Doris Jaksch told the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). 

However the parents in question weren't happy with this solution which meant that all 31 children in the music class were no longer allowed to sing hymns, to the dismay of some of the other parents. 

Hermann Helm said school law clearly states that "it is the responsibility of the school to educate the children in religious and moral values."

"In the curriculum, there are various indications that cross-references are to be made between subjects. Therefore, it is entirely legitimate for songs or poems with a religious background to be performed in the classroom," he added. 

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