Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Thorncliffe Public School Council notice to parents

As my faithful athensBLOG readers know (if there are any of you still left!), we love our neighbourhood - Thorncliffe Park. It's a fascinating neighbourhood that is full of people from so many backgrounds. 35 apartment buildings, 30,000 people, the largest elementary school in North America. There is never a dull moment.

As you may also know, according to Monday's National Post "Toronto (is) the city with the highest concentration of Muslims in North America". And Thorncliffe has the highest concentration of Muslims in Toronto - making Thorncliffe quite an Islamic zone.

Yesterday our kids came home from Thorncliffe Park Public School with a notice about a parenting seminar put on by the school council. This is a great step as many have challenges adjusting to the parenting styles of Canada. You may have seen Russell Peter's youtube video about this :)

What was unfortunate about this parenting seminar is that there was a component titled "Islamic Perspective of Parenting in a Muslim family". Now this is where I start to wonder. I didn't think they were allowed to promote a religious view in a public school?

Below you will see the poster that was handed out to every child in the school:

Thorncliffe Park is a public school. As such I'd like to outline my problems with this seminar. I'd be interested to hear from others in the public school system to see if I'm off base:

1. For me this is a school issue. Not a Muslim or Christian issue. We could be discussing the Baha'i faith or Druze.
2. The school board has to chose to have a "no religions" or "all religions" stance
3. My understanding is that their current stance is "no religions" as they cannot even mention "Christmas" or Easter. There are some variations of this when it comes to holidays like Ramadan.

4. The issue then with this particular incident is that the flyer was sent home *by the school* inviting *all* parents to something that favours one religion.

5. The issue is not even the school hosting the event, but for me sanctioning it and promoting an event which favours and promotes one religion.

This, to me, is unacceptable.
I'd be quite open for comments and will attend this seminar and report back on what it was all about

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