The school is an independent public school. It is run by the State and paid for by the general taxation system. It does not mention any religious ethos on its website.
I am calling it a case of religious discrimination. She was expected to use the words. It was only when she was upset that she was told she did not have to or could substitute other words. She was not given the “choice” at the beginning. The school therefore is deliberately making her feel different to her friends which is unethical, at least by my atheist standards.
The parent sent his daughter to the school to be educated and not to start the day praising any imaginary supernatural entity that some staff members might believe to be real. Telling the father that the onus is on his seven year old daughter to opt out is ignorant. It immediately makes her feel different to her friends and classmates and removes the sense of inclusiveness that would be present in the school if such a policy was not in place.
If the other parents want to have their kids educated with a religious ethos they can either send them to another school or ask that a class be setup outside of school hours where they will permit their own kids to be indoctrinated into praising the Creator of the Universe. They can opt in rather than being expected to opt out.
It is discrimination against a 7 year old child and her parents to expect them to have to opt out of a policy that should not be present in the first place. This form of subtle discrimination is common elsewhere. The school should be sued. Pleas about “what harm is it doing” are beside the point. The ethos of the school should be to treat all the children equally. Efforts to have your children educated without the school trying to convince them that they have to worship the Creator of the Universe is a human right.
If they were Muslims – I sincerely doubt they would be at all offended at having to say the words “and love God” every day at assembly.
That is not the point. They are atheists and are offended by a policy that should not be there.