In the June 20, 1968 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, the following story, titled “New Education Law Under Fire,” appeared:

“The new education law passed by the Legislative assembly on May 29 is sparking a religious controversy. The furore started when a member of the select committee which studied the bill, Miss Annie Bodden ‘strenuously opposed’ the offending section of the Bill.

“Paragraph 17 – subsection 2 states: “If the Parent of any pupil in attendance at any Government School requests that he (the pupil) be wholly or partially excused from attendance at Religious Worship in the school, or from attendance at both Religious Worship and Religious Instructions in the school, then until the request is withdrawn, the pupil shall be excused from such attendance accordingly.

“At the time the bill was passed Miss Bodden was the only dissenting voice in the Assembly. She wrote a letter to The Caymanian published on June 6.

“She claimed that stipulation in paragraph 17 of the Education Law ‘has made it possible and very easy for irreligious parents to have religion banned from our Government Schools, and by doing so, the thin edge of the wedge has been put in to ban the knowledge of God being taught in the Government Schools in our Islands.’

“The lady legislator pointed out that there were no stipulations made in the Education Bill to exclude the teaching of any subject, save that of religion. In a sarcastic vein, she said, ‘Religion is too old fashioned to be a compulsory subject taught in modern Cayman Schools in 1968.’

The following week, the Director of Education, Mr. V.L. Jackson [Mr. Vernon Jackson] wrote that Miss Bodden’s letter ‘seems to be causing some confusion among parents.’

He said that any country that includes the teaching of Religious Knowledge in its schools also includes the ‘Conscience Clause’, whereby a parent may have a child excused from Religious Worship or Religious Instruction.”

A story titled “Bodden Town School Making Magazine” was also found in this issue.

“Senior pupils from the Bodden Town School came in an educational tour of The Caymanian office last Friday morning. The pupils are currently gathering material for a magazine, BTS Gazette, which they hope to have published during the first week of July.

“They came on a familiarising tour to see how material is prepared for printing and publication.

“Our varitypist Betty Evans demonstrated the working of the Varitype Machine. Margaret Parsons showed them how large our headline printing is done. She also accompanied Editor Bill Bodden to the dark room or photographic department where the pupils watched intently as she developed a film. Pressman David Parchment rolled the printing machine, and demonstrated the machine used to fold papers.”

1 COMMENT

  1. I think that 50 years later, we are seeing the results of Ms. Bodden’s argument come to reality . I attended school before and after that law was passed , I thought that religion in the school was good , because I believed that it helped keep the good spirits in , and the bad spirit out . But today we don’t even have prayer in the government schools, and look at the children’s behavior in these schools today . We need to remember that any little bit of anything can be good or bad , but it’s up to us to see it .

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