MONTREAL, Nov. 7, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards
Association (QESBA) expressed its disappointment today with the deposit
of Bill 60 - the amended Charter of Values in the National Assembly
calling on the ban of all ostentatious religious symbols to government
employees including all public school personnel.
"Bill 60 is a bad solution to a problem that that we don't think exists.
Quebec's public schools have a proud record of inclusion, of
celebrating the different ways to be a Quebecer. Our teachers' union
and our school boards have always found ways to strike the democratic
and positive balance between religious differences and common values -
including religious holidays, understanding diversity and respecting
the same curriculum for all. So, where is the urgent need to move this
highly divisive legislation to the top of the agenda? Where is the
pressure coming from? QESBA and its member Boards would far prefer the
government to be working with us to address the real issues that will
matter to the future of the students in our classrooms (school success,
character building, citizenship).
"The draft law proposes to ban the wearing of "ostentatious religious
symbols" by all public-sector employees, thus including the 13,000
teachers, professionals, administrators and support staff in our
system. (How many of them wear such symbols? Very few, I'm sure but
that is not the point.) There are so many ways to be a proud citizen of
this province. That's a great lesson for our students to learn and
understand. Bill 60 wants to tear up that lesson plan. That's very
disappointing and almost a slap in the face to our staff members and
our elected school board leadership.
"QESBA will surely present its thoughts on the key aspects of this bill
when and if Commission hearings are set. We will do so after talking to
the teachers, administrators, parents and communities served by our
nine-member Boards. We will do our best to look at the draft law with a
clear focus on what is best for all of our students and staff.
"Inclusion, inquiry and fairness are bed-rock principles that guide the
teaching we do in all nine English school boards across Quebec. So far,
QESBA sees nothing - nothing in Bill 60 that strengthens these
principles…quite the opposite, in fact.
"One other thing: this draft law promises to pile on yet one more
bureaucratic reporting job on school boards, hospitals and other
institutions - all of us striving to concentrate on the on-the-ground
work that our taxpayers expect from us. Bill 60 tells each of us to
draft our own policies showing how we will comply with the law. …I
expect to have a thing or two to say on that matter when and if
National Assembly hearings are called! We have our policies, and they
are based on common sense and respect."
QESBA is the voice of English public education in Québec representing
some 100,000 students.
SOURCE: Quebec English School Boards Association
For further information:
Director of Communications and Special Projects