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2014-04-02 at 15:45

Keeping the faith

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
ROCK 94Your Rock Station, Always has…Always will be! Click Here!

Celebrating diversity will help create an inclusive, welcoming and safe school environment.

That's the message delivered to city education officials at the Valhalla Inn Wednesday from Eric Roher, a partner and national leader of the Education Focus Group with Borden Ladner Gervais law firm.

"We're here to create a new global citizen," Roher said. "Students that are comfortable in a world community with different faiths, different viewpoints, different perspectives."

"It makes students feel more comfortable in their school community."

Roher focused on religious accommodations and having an equity and inclusive education policy in all schools across the province.

"Thunder Bay has a very diverse range of people," he said.

"Some of our schools have Muslim students, Jewish students, Sikh students, Christian students, Catholic students."

Each school should invite parents and students to inform their school of the types of faith-based accommodations they require, whether it be dietary, clothing-related or about religious holy days.

Then schools can make the necessary adjustments, which may be as simple as including non-Christian songs in a Christmas-themed concert or adding items to the cafeteria menu.

"The idea is to make other students feel comfortable and accepted in the school community and also to inform all of the students about the range of different faiths," said Roher.

Lakehead Public Schools education officer Eric Fredrickson said the public board has an equity and inclusive education policy already in place for religious and other accommodations and the session with Roher helped them reinforce that policy.

"I think we always hear from families and from students when there are concerns or when they're troubled about things," he said.

"We do our best to accommodate those as quickly as we can at the school level. What (Roher) brings here is the legal or bigger picture for us to help us see that through a broader scope across the province," Fredrickson added.

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Comments

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ranma says:
This is a bad idea, period. Religion has no place in school. Giving certain groups special privileges has worked so well in the past! If the students or the parents really want religious inclusion, they can go to a private school. Public school is for everyone and should NOT make exceptions.

And non Christian Christmas songs? So shall we sing the songs that were made prior to the church stealing the pagan holiday of Saturnalia?

This is a joke, right? If the parents want religious exception, as I said, they can take their kids to a private school.
4/2/2014 4:47:19 PM
Kurtiswm says:
Ranma, I totally agree. It is impossible to cater to every culture and religion. And while we are at it stripping away things like "Christmas" is pathetic. You don't like it go to a private school.
4/2/2014 7:28:47 PM
Spinky says:
Mr. Roher was here to educate teacher and board staff about their existing obligations under Canadian laws that have been in place for decades. If ranma and Kurtiswm are opposed to following Canadian law, perhaps they'd like to move elsewhere? If they both strongly believe that religion has no place in school, I hope they've been advocating for those beliefs by working to eliminate all the Christian practices - Christmas trees, Christmas concerts and Easter bunnies and eggs - from our schools, since these are traditions not observed by members of any other faith. No religion also means no Christianity. Otherwise, this is racism pure and simple. If you don't like that, go to a private school.
4/3/2014 9:39:22 AM
ring of fire dude says:
I would like to see Festivus celebrated in the schools . Festivus for the rest of us !
4/2/2014 9:32:46 PM
big joe mufferaw says:
Is there any chance that athiests will get fair representation in this?
4/2/2014 10:52:08 PM
SMB says:
Oh, how history is lost on the modern Canadian. Most people fail to realize that the reason we have a separate Catholic school system is that in days of yore, the Protestant majority didn't want their children mixing with the Catholics. The Public school system wasn't set up with the intention of being secular, it was set up to be exclusionary!
4/3/2014 9:01:04 AM
iceman says:
Religion does not belong in schools, unless you are teaching about religion and all the conflicts it has started from a purely academic point of view
4/3/2014 10:04:20 AM
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