Lord's Prayer debate heats up at southern Alberta school

One elementary school in Taber has temporarily cancelled the daily practice of saying the Lord's Prayer following a complaint from a parent.

'There are definitely opportunities for them not to partake,' says school superintendent

The debate over the saying of the Lord's Prayer in a public school is heating up in southern Alberta.

One elementary school in Taber has temporarily cancelled the daily practice following a complaint from a parent.

Alberta is the only province in the country where the saying of the prayer is guaranteed under the School Act, but  Dr. Hamman School is the only public school in town that recites it.

Melanie Bell, the mother who made the complaint, told the Lethbridge Herald that her son came home crying after he was disciplined for not participating in the prayer. 

She said her motion to remove the practice was not an attack on Christianity. She believes there are plenty of opportunities for families who believe to recite the prayer, but it has no place in the public school system.

“We teach diversity and acceptance as parents, as a school and as a community. There is no diversity and acceptance of other religions with the Lord’s Prayer. You want religion in the public school system? Teach them all,” Bell told the Herald.

Wilco Tymenson, the superintendent of the Horizon School Division, says whether the prayer is said depends on the local community — and nothing is written in stone.

He said there is "absolutely possibilities for compromise."

Tymenson says feedback from parents so far is overwhelmingly in support of saying the prayer.

"If people are opting not to be involved in that activity there are definitely opportunities for them not to partake," he said.

The board at the Taber school will meet again at the end of the month to decide whether saying the prayer will resume.

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