Religion booted from Delta schools, programs remain in Vancouver

Some good news from the Vancouver Sun:

Volunteers from a global evangelical group are no longer welcome in Delta public schools.

That message was delivered recently by school superintendent Dianne Turner after The Vancouver Sun published a story about the Pais Project and its success in placing young missionaries in two schools — South Delta secondary and University Hill secondary in Vancouver.

The superintendent goes on to give a strong defence of secularism in BC schools:

“The Delta school district is strictly secular, operating on non-sectarian principles, and therefore promotion of religious views is prohibited in our schools,” Turner stated in a letter to parents, some of whom had complained after reading the Sun story. “We take this regulation of the School Act, Section 76, very seriously.”

The Pais Project is quoted in the article as “missionaries making missionaries” and provides Christian volunteers to tutor and coach sports teams.

The Sun also notes that volunteers from a similar Christian group Young Life Canada are active in Kitsilano Secondary School (mere blocks from where I live). From YLC’s website

We believe all kids have the right to know about God, to become informed about the person of Jesus Christ and who he said he was. Young Life leaders communicate the basics of the Christian faith in one on one casual conversations, at weekly club meetings and through our camping program.

The superintendent of the Vancouver School Board claims that the situation is being monitored and that no complaints have been received from parents yet. You can call or email superintendent Steve Cardwell at 604-713-5100 or scardwell@vsb.bc.ca

From the YLC website it looks like their program is quite active across BC and I doubt that the Pais Project was active only in Delta. The BC public school system is explicitly secular and we need to ensure that our students are not being proselytized to during school hours.

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