It was unclear last night what the deletion of Regulation 518 meant for the practice of distributing Gideon Bibles in Chilliwack public schools. A number of stories came out today, however, that start to paint a clearer picture.
First, here’s the mainstream media coverage:
Bibles could return to Chilliwack public schools under new policy – Chilliwack Times
Chilliwack school board puts Bibles on hold – The Province
From the quotes from the superintendent of the Chilliwack School District, it seems that in the absence of a policy, the district cannot distribute Gideon Bibles.
However, this victory is only tentative, as the trustees appear eager to draft a policy to ensure Bibles will be distributed next school year (the Gideon’s are finished distributing in Chilliwack for this year). Furthermore, it seems they only agreed to delete this regulation, as it existed in a weird limbo between the Board’s policies and the staff’s regulations to implement that policy.
With no further action on our part, the Board will likely seek to pass a policy similar to Policy 9.60 in School District No. 34 (Abbotsford) that permits the “Distribution of Information or Materials” to students with the approval of the Superintendent.
It is my view, and that of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, that this still contravenes Section 76 that mandates all provincial schools to be secular. Our schools are not for religious advertising and proselytizing.
Therefore, our work continues, in Chilliwack and in other districts across the province.
In the new year I hope to expand our advocacy work. Since we began providing our support to Richard Ajabu, we’ve received a number of emails from parents and teachers who are concerned about other ways that religious proselytizing is creeping into the classroom. Documenting and exposing these violations of the School Act will require time and money. If you support this work and our efforts to build a community based on secular ethics, please donate to our year-end fundraising campaign.
Thanks for your continued support.