Interim Staff

The Winnipeg School Division defeated a proposal to ask the province to change existing regulations that allow religious instruction in secular schools. Under Manitoba’s Public Schools Act, religious education is permitted if 25 parents from a school petition for religious instruction and activities. Only the children of the parents who signed the petition would then be able to participate.

Board chairwoman Suzanne Hrynyk and trustees Kristine Barr and Joyce Bateman proposed that the board ask Manitoba Education Minister Nancy Allan to change the Act to allow trustees to refuse to comply with parents’ demands. They also wanted to make the administration instead of the trustees responsible for deciding on religious activities.

Trustee Mike Babinsky says that Hrynyk, Barr, and Bateman were trying to prevent parents from having religious education be part of their child’s schooling. The Winnipeg Free Press reported Babinsky insinuated that efforts to thwart religious education may be payback for Christian activism against pro-gay educational battles dating back to 1999.