Recent secular victories in Chilliwack are at risk.
On November 13th, the Board of the Chilliwack School District deleted Regulation 518 that stated, "The Board approves the distribution of Gideon Youth Testaments to Grade 5 pupils with parental consent." At the same meeting, the Board agreed to draft a new policy to permit the "distribution of materials" by March 2013.
This new policy represents an attempt to use public schools for religious proselytizing in BC public schools.
Superintendent Evelyn Novak intends to gather feedback through February to draft the new policy. While this feedback may not be open to the public, secular voices will be heard.
Please sign the petition below to send the message to the Chilliwack School Districts that BC schools should remain secular.
I fear that this new policy will be used to reinstate the distribution of Gideon Bibles, a practice that I feel violates Section 76 of the BC School Act mandating that all BC public schools "must be conducted on strictly secular and non-sectarian principles." Furthermore, I feel that it is an inappropriate use of school resources to enable religious organizations to proselytize to students.
As has been noted by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in their November 13th letter to the Chilliwack School Board, the practice of distributing Gideon Bibles may constitute a violation of freedom of religion enshrined in s. 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This practice represents an implicit endorsement by the School Board of one religious worldview to the exclusion of other viewpoints. As only one evangelical religious viewpoint has taken advantage of this ability, my concerns are not alleviated by broadening the policy to permit other groups to distribute materials.
I therefore request that the Chilliwack School District Board of Education abandon its plans for a new policy permitting the distribution of materials.
Thank you for your consideration.