Saying Lord's Prayer at school to continue for now in S.E. Alberta
The practice of reciting the Lord's Prayer will continue for now at some schools in southeastern Alberta.
The issue came to a head earlier this month after a complaint from a mother whose son attends Dr. Hamman School in Taber, about 50 kilometres east of Lethbridge.
“My oldest son made the choice to sit down during the Lord's Prayer in his desk quietly,” said Melanie Bell.
Her 10-year-old came home in tears saying he had been disciplined for his decision — one Bell supports because she doesn't believe religion belongs in a public school.
The Horizon School Division based in Taber halted the prayer at the boy's school temporarily.
The board met this week to decide what to do next. Ten schools in the division have been directed to continue reciting the prayer while the board seeks public input to establish a standard policy.
The 26 schools in the division that do not recite the prayer will continue that policy as well.
Until now it's been up to each school to decide whether to have students recite the prayer.
But Superintendent Wilco Tymensen said the time has come for a clear board policy.
“We very much believe in the notion of inclusion and we feel that if we want to tolerate and respect diversity, it's about accommodations and tolerance,” he said.
“So let's all work together. It gives us an opportunity to engage in a conversation and come to a common understanding.”
Alberta is the only province in the country where the right to say the prayer is guaranteed by legislation.