Letter: Parent delegation clarifies misunderstandings about GSACRD request

Dear editor:

There is confusion or misunderstanding about what our Morinville parent delegation has requested from our public schools. We are advocating for our public schools to operate like other public schools across the province. We have no issue having Religious Studies class or a faith-based program like the Christian LOGOS program that is provided in some public schools. Students and parents who choose to take the course or program can opt into it. But, in a public school, religion should not be permeated within every course of study and educational program, all instructional materials, instruction and exercises throughout the day. We request our public schools follow the general provincial curriculum as a matter of course, not the Roman Catholic separate school curriculum, as is currently the case.

Our school board supports religious permeation in the curriculum of every subject taught – both in and outside of formal religion classes – celebrations and exercises, and, has formally refused the request of some parents that their children should have access to a public education that is not at all permeated by the faith convictions of one denomination. Such a refusal is not acceptable from the designated public school division. The demographics of Morinville have changed significantly over recent years and our public schools need to reflect the changes and the current reality in Morinville. Our public school board refuses to represent the whole population when it caters to only 30 per cent of the student population. Public schools are inclusive and are responsible to all students.

We requested our children attend our resident neighbourhood public school to learn the ABCs and 123s and common values that are important regardless of religious faith. We want our children to become caring, productive members of society, without the permeated instruction of one religion. This is not an extraordinary request. It is the law in Canada and an education protected for all Canadians.

I encourage all students and parents who will be registering for the fall with Morinville public schools to read the new clause, “NOTICE TO PARENT OR GUARDIAN OF RELIGIOUS PERMEATION” on page 3 of the 2011-12 Student Registration Form. This clause was not included in previous years. To complete your registration form you are required to declare you have read and are aware of the religious permeation in Division Schools and with your signature you are bound to the legal document.

Religious permeation is the following: All of the schools in the Morinville and Legal Wards are Catholic Public Schools. As such, Catholic theology, philosophy, practices and beliefs, the principles of the Gospel and teachings of the Catholic Church, are made accessible to students, including in the curriculum of every subject taught, both in and outside of formal religion classes, celebrations and exercises.

Every course of study and educational program, all instructional materials, instruction and exercises will at all times include subject matter that deals primarily and explicitly with religion.”

The 2011-12 Morinville Student Registration Form may be downloaded from www.gsacrd.ab.ca under the Our Division heading – Publications and Downloads.

If anyone would like more information on the efforts of our group please visit: www.morinvilleparentdelegation.webs.com
Thank you,

Donna Hunter, Marjorie Kirsop, Carol Sparks, Jesica Logan, David Redman, members of the Morinville parent delegation

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3 Comments

  1. I completely support and agree with your letter. Thank you for everything you are doing for all of us who want a non-religious education for our children!

  2. Even if you do get your wish of the GSACRD changing their curriculum, it would be short lived as the GSACRD has already stated that they have been requesting that the Government of Alberta changes the laws, so parents can’t exempt their children from religious instruction in their schools.

    The government of Alberta should finally do what’s right, and make one non-religious public school system. Religious instruction should remain in relgious centers such as Churches, Mosque’s and Temples, and religion should only be a topic of Social Studies where the basic makeup of every religion is taught from a non-biased point of view.

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