A letter to parents from a public school in St. Albert, Alberta detailing the option to place children into designated Lord’s Prayer classrooms has found its way onto Reddit.
As we begin organization of the new school year, we are planning our registration room classrooms. Designated classrooms at Sturgeon Heights will have staff or student leaders initiate the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer within that room after morning announcements. Other classrooms will not recite the prayer. Parents will determine if their child will be in a designated Lord’s Prayer classroom or not.
As for any parents who failed to respond to the letter, their children would be automatically placed into a classroom that does not recite the prayer.
Students will be assigned to cross graded classrooms within their primary, elementary, or junior high division for our first meeting prior to moving to homerooms. This process will begin on September 18th. In the event that we have no response from you by then, your child will be placed in a room that does not recite the prayer.
The policy to have some homerooms that recite the Lord’s Prayer after morning announcement and some homerooms that do not was created by the School Board at the request of parents, according to the letter.
“As per the Board Policy, our School continues to respond to parent requests to offer the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. The plan we established has worked well this year and we will continue to respect and accommodate the desires of parents in this regard. The Policy directs that this request to parents be put forth each school year. I am hopeful you will exercise your option and indicate whether your child is opting into the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer or opting out of the recitations of the Lord’s Prayer. Please return the attached form to the school by September 13th, 2017. If you have questions, please call me at the school.”
According to Sturgeon Public School Division School Board’s Policy Handbook section D/II/6, “The Board believes that our schools have a role in helping children develop emotionally, intellectually, physically, morally and spiritually.”
In fact, the Alberta board has a specific clause in effect for just for the Lord’s Prayer:
“The Board believes in religious tolerance, the acknowledgement of religious diversity, the maintenance of inclusive environments in its schools, and the provisions of appropriate opportunities for students to give expression to their religious beliefs. In accordance with the School Act, the Alberta Act, the School Ordinance of the Northwest Territories and the Constitution of Canada, the Board may prescribe that a school include recitations of the Lord’s Prayer as part of its opening exercises.”