Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 19, 2010
Minister upholds right of schools to offer religious education
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - Catholic school leaders hurried to combat a news story that suggested new legislation could lead to parents withdrawing children from religion classes in Catholic schools.
The president of Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association said it is "outside the realm of common sense" to suggest Catholic schools would have to send a note home every time a religious issue was to be discussed in the classroom.
Sandra Bannard said when parents register their children in a Catholic school they sign a statement saying they realize the Catholic faith will permeate every aspect of the school day.
Education Minister Dave Hancock acknowledged that the statement signed by parents when enrolling their children in a Catholic school meets the requirement of Bill 44 for parents to be notified of religious activity in the classroom, Bannard said in an interview.
"I think the government wanted to use a common sense approach in terms of Catholic schools," she said.
However, sexuality and sexual information still require proper notice to the parents.
Bannard said the government never intended that parents have a right to withdraw their children from religious education in Catholic schools as was implied by comments by an Alberta Education official reported in the June 26 Edmonton Journal.
Hancock wrote to the paper July 1 to reiterate there is nothing in Alberta law that precludes faith-based schools from making religious instruction a prerequisite for admission.
Bannard said if a parent challenges the religious aspect of their child's schooling, "teachers do have the registration document they signed off on.
"They can also help them understand if this is not suitable programming for their child, then they need to look elsewhere to have their child go to school."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.