Sorry about the cancer analogy. Cancer is easier to treat. No one thinks that it would be racist to remove a tumor. But it is good to see a regular newspaper actually deal with this important issue.
TORONTO – Turns out the taxpayers are funding religious schools after all.
Or at least one that we know of.
If it’s not stopped now who knows where this will end up or how much it will cost.
Yes, at Valley Park Middle School on Overlea Blvd., authorities have bent the public school, no religion credo rules by allowing an Imam to hold for Islamic prayer sessions for 400 students in the cafeteria on Fridays.
“It is a safety issue,” the Toronto District School Board spokesperson Shari Schwartz told The Toronto Sun’s Tom Godfrey. “Students were leaving for the mosque during the day and some weren’t returning.”
So, instead of applying normal truancy standards, they brought the mosque to them.
Perhaps renting the space after school hours is a different issue, but making it available to one group while students should be in regular class is just not right.
This decision is rife with many problems as it carries double standards.
As Tom reports in Sun Media today the Hindu community is the first to protest with a “why not us too” message?
Who knows which religious community is next. Why wouldn’t they complain? Why is one group special over another? What is good for one should be good enough for the rest.
It seems in the case of making allowances during school hours on school property there were amendments made at Valley Park. But what if students wanted to have a nativity scene at Christmas in that same cafeteria or run a Christ passion play? Or how about readings from the Torah or to celebrate Hanukkah or Diwali?
You already know the answer.
And it’s the right answer because religion does not belong in public schools.
Remember the case of the Gideons no longer being able to pass out free bibles to schools? If Christian bibles are off limits, so should religious teachings of any kind.
But how can the Toronto board ever say no to anybody again?
And what happens when Imams decide Fridays are not enough and the cafeteria should be available every day?
It’s quite a can of worms.
The truth is in the taxpayer funded public school system the kids have, in essence, a freedom from religion as much as they do freedom of religion. Whatever religion their families practice, should be done off site and off hours.
There’s nothing wrong with faith and worship, but it’s not part of what should be happening in a public school and the people running the school boards know this. During school hours, all religions have to find a way to co-exist in this setting that is there for academic learning.
At Valley Park is what happened by bending the rules accommodation or capitulation?
The problem when you stand up and be counted with these kinds of issues, you can be branded a racist, anti-Islamic or anti-Semitic or in the case of Mayor Rob Ford not wanting to go to the Gay Pride Parade, homophobic.
But strong leaders don’t bow to political correctness.
It seems a lot of times the powers that be are selective in how they enforce zero tolerance policies. As poor John Tory found out in the last provincial election, Ontarians don’t want funding for religion in public schools.
Valley Park must not have received the memo because it seems Toronto already has at least one school.