SIR,-Some time ago we were privileged in having the question of punishment in Irish Primary schools openly and fully discussed in your valuable columns. We feel it only fair to say that the standard of contributions on that occasion surpassed anything that it is possible to achieve in the twenty-six counties and while many of your readers may consider our problems somewhat outside their bailiwick. we can assure them that the publications in your columns, which are widely read over here, and the highly academic tone of the controversy based on sound Catholic doctrine, has resulted in a vast improvement in many of our National schools. It is a happy thought that the clear arid concise presentation in your paper of our Holy Father's views on this subject has helped to improve some of the weaknesses in our Irish tradition of discipline and correction.
Unfortunately there still exists a widespread antagonism towards the rights of parents in matters relating to the education of their children. Many public statements of a calculated nature appear from time to time in our daily papers which tend to encourage parents to abandon their duties in educational matters. One such recent report made in a number of papers, quoted a Superior of a College as stating " The rights of parents were not absolute or despotic, and they had no right to interfere in the discipline of running a school." and again, one of our leading educationists when questioned at a public lecture regarding his views On Parent-Teacher Organisation!. stated that while he was not opposed to such organisations it should be clearly understood that parents should have no influence in the running of the school.
We have been unable to find any Catholic foundation for the theory that parental rights in the education of children exist only so long as a parent is in agreement with the school authorities but when a parent finds it necessary in the interest of the child to disagree with that authority parental rights cease to exist. We feel that such ambiguous theories could be very dangerous under a Compulsory Education System if Catholic parents were forced to abandon their God-given rights once a child passes over the threshold of a school. We would greatly appreciate the views of your readers on this matter which is of paramount importance to so many parents.
lion. Secretary. School Children's Protection Organisation.