Scientologists send M-rated anti-psychiatry DVD to primary schools

ABC News, Australia/July 21, 2017

By Loretta Florance

The Victorian Government has advised principals to ignore materials sent from the Church of Scientology, after primary schools received a DVD and pamphlets warning of the dangers of psychiatrists and antidepressants.

The church sent the "glossy material" and an M-rated DVD titled Psychiatry: Friend or Foe? to schools in Victoria and New South Wales.

Principal of Glen Park Primary School Tony Shaw told ABC Radio Melbourne it was not immediately clear the material came from the church.

"You've got to look at the fine print. [The letterhead] says Citizens Committee on Human Rights Inc," he said.

"Just under there it says 'established 1969 by the Church of Scientology to investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights'."

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said he was confident the material would be thrown out.

"Our teachers and principals receive information sent to them from a wide variety of groups and organisations," he said.

"Principals are education professionals. We trust that they are able to choose correctly what information is useful for their school and I am confident this would be thrown in the bin."

'Bizarre' to target schools

Mr Shaw said the letter suggested the DVD be shown to staff and parents.

"I think it's bizarre that they choose to pursue their feud with psychiatry in the state education system," he said.

"I've seen documentaries about Scientology ... so I'm aware of their issues with psychiatry, they seem to believe that they have competing interests, although psychiatry is based on centuries of medical and clinical facts and Scientology isn't.

He said his school had not received unsolicited political material in a decade.

"The last unsolicited DVD that I can remember receiving was the Inconvenient Truth from Al Gore, that was about 10 years ago, I guess," he said.

It is not the first time the church has sent materials to school in Australia.

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