Proposed Chilliwack policy leaves questions unanswered

The BC Humanist Association is concerned that a policy proposed by the Chilliwack School District will lead to the distribution of religious materials in public school classrooms.

A proposed policy in the agenda for an upcoming Chilliwack Board of Education meeting has not eased concerns of secularists over the distribution of religious materials.

The Board will debate whether to adopt Policy 518 “Distribution of Information or Materials” at its meeting on the evening of Tuesday, March 12, 2013. The policy is being introduced after the Board deleted Regulation 518 in November which explicitly permitted the distribution of Gideon Bibles in schools.

“This new policy doesn’t address any of our concerns,” says Ian Bushfield, Executive Director of the BC Humanist Association, whose group voiced its opposition to the regulation last year. “In fact, it raises new questions about religious advertising in Chilliwack schools.”

The group is concerned about the consultation process, which didn’t seek public input and included The Gideons but no other religious or secular groups. They also want to know if the Board is prepared to spend tax dollars to defend this policy.

Bushfield plans to briefly raise his group’s concerns during the public participation portion of the meeting.

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