WEYBURN - The annual decision of whether to allow the Lord’s Prayer in schools came up at the South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s board meeting on Wednesday.
In the past, board members have given rapid approval to individual schools that have requested use of the prayer during special events or assemblies.
This year’s request by three of the 37 schools in the division again received board permission to use this prayer but this time it didn’t come without some discussion regarding a number of social implications.
Eventually the board approved the motion to grant the right to recite the prayer to Carievale School, Gladmar Regional School and MacLeod Elementary School in Moosomin. Gladmar’s request noted they would use the prayer, probably on a monthly basis to open certain activities, while MacLeod would use it daily in assemblies and Carievale on a weekly assembly basis.
The motion to grant permission passed by a 5-2 margin with two trustees, Jim Vermeersch and Carol Flynn, being unable to be present at the meeting and with one vacancy being noted for the city of Weyburn.
Subdivision 4 trustee Tami Scott said the issue had been discussed earlier, and her perspective was to encourage administration and counsellors to go back to the student population to see if some of them did not wish to participate, and to get their feelings about possibly feeling excluded from the student body if they did not wish to participate.
Estevan trustee Eric McCrimmon said he objected to the motion since it only related to the Lord’s Prayer or a Bible passage and he wondered why the motion would only involve the Christian holy book. He said he had to vote against the motion because it eliminated other religions.
Weyburn trustee Norma Hewitt-Lendrum said she believed there should be separation of church and state and that there were other spiritual books. She would still vote in favour of the motion at this juncture “but this needs to be looked at again,” she said.
Estevan trustee Kevin Keating weighed in by forwarding the motion, saying he felt the school community councils have a handle on the wishes of their community.
Jennifer Wilkinson of Subdivision 6 joined others in suggesting the various communities do a double check on this question.
“Times are changing,” she said.
With the acknowledgments that there are new realities in place on this issue within the province, the board voted in favour of accepting the requests from the three schools.