In our campaign for Secular Schools in BC most of our public relations has been focused on Chilliwack and Abbotsford, but our research found a couple other anomalies across the province that are being corrected thanks to quick responses from local trustees.
School district 53 maintains a distribution of materials policy that allows for the distribution of materials in schools; however, the associated regulation prohibits materials “of a commercial, political, religious, or partisan nature.” A different policy, that covers “Advertising, canvassing & commercial solicitation” had a regulation that stated “materials must be non-secular.”
Assuming this was merely a typo, I sent a letter to the district trustees but not the media. The regulation was revised on November 16, 2012 and now appropriately states “materials must be secular.”
On November 20th, the Powell River Board of Education discussed their own policy that prohibited the distribution of religious materials with an exception for Gideon Youth Testaments. While I don’t have a full report from that meeting yet, the recommended revision from the agenda [pdf] shows the phrase being deleted from policy 7133(R):
However, the Board permits the distribution of Gideon Testaments to Grade 5 pupils only when parents have requested it by signing the specific consent form.
The main policy on the website hasn’t been updated yet, but I would be surprised if the Board didn’t pass the superintendent’s recommendation.
Update: Sun Media reporter Ada Slivinski confirms on Twitter that the district has deleted the exemption and has no plans to revisit the issue.
In addition to the recent deletion of Regulation 518 in Chilliwack, that makes 3 school board policies made more secular in the past month. Our work isn’t over, but we’re definitely making progress.