Every time I think the policies of Ontario publicly-funded Catholic school boards couldn’t get any worse I’m proven wrong.
On February 3, the Burlington Post announced,
Effective immediately, students across the Halton Catholic District School Board will recite the Oath of Citizenship at the start of each school day, the only ones in the province to do so, according to an Oakville trustee.
In a letter to the Oakville Beaver, Douglas Knott, “a Catholic ratepayer and retired Catholic school teacher and principal” objects to HCDSB Catholic schools adding the Oath of Citizenship “to prayer as a mandatory part of the day for Catholic students”:
As a Catholic ratepayer and retired Catholic school teacher and principal, I must express my dismay at the resolution of the Halton Catholic District School Board’s to make it mandatory for all students, teachers, and administrative staff to take an oath of allegiance to Canada and its laws at the beginning of every school day.
I’m sure the intentions of the school trustees are admirable and show their love for this country, but I find it insulting to the teachers, students, parents, and grandparents of Catholic school students who quietly practice their patriotism every day without being ordered to do so.
It is doubly offensive to those students (and their parents) who attend publicly-funded Catholic schools and do not yet have Canadian citizenship due to the slowness of government to issue the necessary papers.
Presumably, those students would be excluded from taking the oath.
The citizens of Ontario, religious and non-religious, tolerate the Constitutional rights and privileges that permit the continued existence of Catholic schools in the 21st century despite the failure of the system to recognize, support, and treat with dignity Catholic gay, lesbian, and transgendered teachers and students within the structure of Catholic schools.
I urge the trustees to reconsider and rescind their unfortunate policy decision and to look at supporting the joint efforts of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and the Ministry of Education’s Digital Citizenship program rather than mandating a medieval practice of pledging fealty on bended knee to the reigning monarch.
Enough said, it’s time to shut down these publicly-funded Catholic school boards.