Parent group to protest religious accommodation in Peel schools
A school bus is shown in this undated photo.
Amara McLaughlin, CP24.com
Published Thursday, April 20, 2017 5:24PM EDT
Peel District School Board’s religious accommodation for students is falling under fire again.
A group of parents are planning a protest at the suburban Toronto school board next week calling for the annexation of all religious practices from Peel schools.
The protest comes weeks after the school board issued a fact sheet to quell misinformation regarding religious accommodation.
CP24 reached out to Peel District School Board who on Thursday declined to comment, saying in an email, “we are not participating in any further media interviews on this issue.”
This isn’t the first time Concerned Parents of Canada has staged an event, calling for an end to Muslim prayer service in Peel region schools.
The group describes themselves on Facebook as opposing “discrimination, hate, segregation and religious practices in public school.”
Parents behind the protest declined to comment to CP24.
Last month, the school board dealt with a social media campaign and another protest by the same group calling for the end of accommodations of Muslim prayer in schools.
In response, the school board launched a religious accommodation fact sheet to quell misinformation about the accommodations.
“In recent weeks, we have seen a concerted effort to share deliberate misinformation to counter a known legal requirement for Peel – like every public and Catholic board – to provide religious accommodation for all faiths,” board chair Janet McDougald said in a statement last month.
Religious accommodation, the fact sheet says, is required under the Ontario Human Rights Code and highlights that these kinds of accommodations have been taking place in Peel schools for over 15 years.
“The Peel board does not tolerate any campaigns that discriminate against a faith,” the sheet says.
In the announcement promoting the upcoming protest on Apr. 25, the parent group says it is concerned about how much religious accommodation should influence a secular school board.
However, the group says it does promote tolerance of religious clothing, such as the wearing of a hijab, turban, kippa, tilak or a Christian cross, according to the flyer promoting the event.
At the beginning of this year, the Peel board reviewed its treatment of Muslim prayers in school by analyzing procedures in neighbouring Greater Toronto Area school districts.
The review concluded that Friday prayers, known as Jummah prayers, are accommodated across the GTA and resulted in no significant issues.
The Concerned Parents of Canada protest is being held on Apr. 25 at 6 p.m.