Bluewater District School Board trustees are monitoring threats and hate mail which includes racist threats and questions of members patriotism as they prepare to formalize a policy banning the handing out of religious material. Several school boards in Canada have a similar policy in place. Canadian Press:
Trustee Fran Morgan called the “onslaught” of messages “really disturbing,” and said it has made her uneasy about driving the 30 kilometres to board meetings at night by herself.
“I really do feel threatened by it,” Morgan said from Griersville, Ont. “It’s been very unpleasant.”
The Bluewater board, with more than 18,000 students in 53 schools across a broad swath of southern Ontario territory, is expected to formalize the ban at its meeting April 17, following in the footsteps of several other boards across Canada.
Ban proponents argue distribution of the Bibles has no place in a secular school system, and that it potentially violates human-rights legislation.
The board nixed the idea of allowing any religion to hand out materials on the basis it would suck up scarce resources and could be legally risky.
The threats aren’t coming from the Gideons, who have handed out bibles to grade 5 students in Ontario public schools since 1936. Gideons International is based in Nashville Tennessee, the Canadian office is in Guelph Ontario. The Canadian branch opened in 1911.
“Over time, due to the religious fabric of our country being re-woven, school boards have begun to re-evaluate their policies on this tradition,” Warkentin said.
“The Gideons’ response to the school boards’ decisions to discontinue the distributions has always been complete acceptance.”
Grade 5 students received a permission slip to take home to parents Bluewater District School Board serves Blue and Grey counties, two rural areas with about 18,500 students and a combined population of about 152 thousand.
Racist threats and questions of patriotism sound like comments that would come from the southern US. Canadians can and do get just as ugly, it would be interesting to see the demographic breakdown of these emails. I wonder how many people issuing threats have bibles at home? Waterloo District School board faced similar vitrol over a four year period as Gideon bible distribution was phased out.