What do you get when you cross bureaucracy and religion? Idiocy.
The news that 11-year-old Elliott Stewart from Brasside in Durham has been refused a free bus pass to get to school, just because he hasn't been baptised, would be worthy of the sitcom Father Ted, if it wasn't true.
Durham Councillor Clive Robson said (presumably not realising how stupid it sounds):
"Although a child does not have to be a Roman catholic to attend a Roman Catholic school, he or she and at least one parent has to be baptised Roman Catholic to be considered for free travel to it."
So, it seems a ritual splash of water is all that is stopping Elliott from enjoying free bus travel to school.
In an attempt to make it appear that faith schools have become more open in their admissions rules, policies have been changed to allow children not baptised in the Roman Catholic religion to enrol in a Roman Catholic school. But the mechanism that would allow Elliott to have the same opportunity of access to school as his schoolmates doesn't exist.
But rather than put their hands up and admit it's a silly rule, and that special dispensation will be given for Elliott until the policy is changed, the jobs worth drones at Durham County Council have stuck to the tried and tested 'rules is rules' excuse, with a the 'Ombudsman sez so, so there' for good measure.
How long before Durham becomes known as "The Deep South of the North East"?
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